Yaz, Yasmin and their generic sister drug Ocella are at the center of the newest lawsuit to be filed against Bayer over the medications’ dangerous side effects. This time, the focus is on deep vein thrombosis, which is caused by blood clots.
This lawsuit was filed in the U.S. district court in the Southern District of Illinois on December 3, 2012. The plaintiff in this case, Janice Fisher, claims that she started taking one version of the drug without knowing the side effects that had been linked to the pills. She is also claiming that her doctor also didn’t know of the side effects linked to the pills, but that Bayer (the makers of the pills) knew and purposely hid them. When Bayer first began marketing the pills, the company’s ads seemed to downplay the dangers while touting the pills as a “cure” for acne and PMDD. That ad campaign was forcibly altered to include the risks by the FDA in 2008.
In 2008, the FDA sent Bayer a warning letter about touting the pills’ off-label uses. Bayer then eased off of the marketing campaign a bit, but by then, many Yaz users had already begun suffering from drug-related damages. Some of those damages included heart attacks, strokes, gallbladder disease, kidney stones and blood clots that led to pulmonary embolisms and deep vein thrombosis, as well as death. Those complications forced thousands of women and their families to file lawsuits against Bayer amid claims that the company failed to warned the public and healthcare professionals how dangerous their pills could be.
Bayer tried to claim that these newest pills were no more dangerous than older birth control pills, but research continued to link the pills’ main active ingredient, drospirenone, to serious health problems. Bayer started conceding the dangers earlier this year by agreeing to financial settlements with as many as 3,400 plaintiffs to the tune of $750 million. More settlements are expected in the future. Many experts are expecting Bayer’s settlements to surpass the $1.5 billion mark quickly, but with more lawsuits being filed every day, that amount could easily double.