Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals has recently and rapidly come into legal trouble over its oral contraceptive Yaz and its alleged dangerous and even fatal side effects. Yaz, its predecessor Yasmin, and the generic version Ocella have all come under fire in recent years for their overstated benefits and minimized risks. Experts predict that more than 25,000 cases could eventually be filed by women alleging dangerous to fatal side effects from using the prescription contraceptive.
Berlex Laboratories, which originally began manufacturing Yasmin in 2001, was acquired by Bayer Healthcare in 2006. Before being bought by Bayer, the FDA issued a warning to Berlex to discontinue a misleading television advertisement for Yasmin. The new company, Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals, then released a newer version of the pill under the name of Yaz in 2006. The FDA then issued yet another warning in 2008 over misleading commercials aired on television by Bayer. The warning included an overstatement of efficacy on the part of Yaz’s ability to fight premenstrual syndrome and acne as well as understating the risks involved with usage of the pill. Despite the warnings and several cases of injury and death reported after using the hormonal birth control, Yaz had become a very popular and bestselling oral contraceptive.
The controversy surrounding Yaz stems from the use of a hormone by the name of progestin drospirenone. Both Yasmin and Yaz use the female hormones estrogen and progestin to block pregnancy by preventing ovulation, making it harder for sperm to reach and fertilize the egg, and reducing the chance that the egg will implant on the uterine wall. Yaz uses a unique form of progestin known as drosperinone which has been alleged to increase the risk of the following symptoms: heart attack, stroke, cardiac arrhythmia, gallbladder disease, deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, and sudden death.
The 2008 FDA warnings were issued in response to two Bayer television commercials that have been accused of being misleading. One of the commercials’ implied claims was that Yaz was approved to treat premenstrual syndrome (PMS) when in fact it was only approved to treat premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), a more severe form of PMS. Another misleading claim made in the commercials was that Yaz treated mild acne. In addition to the claims, the commercials have been accused of downplaying the associated risks of using the contraceptive. In early 2009, prompted by the FDA, Bayer ran a multimillion television advertising campaign in which it attempted to correct the misleading claims of its previous commercials.
With an increasing number of lawsuits being filed against Bayer Pharmaceuticals over usage of Yasmin and Yaz, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) ordered, in mid 2009, that all Yasmin and Yaz litigation that are pending federal courts be consolidated in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois as a part of an MDL. Chief Judge David R. Herndon, in a status conference on the MDL, has talked about establishing “bellwether” trials in which juries will be gauged on how they respond to evidence presented by the litigation. Herndon also mentioned that he would like to see the case move through the court “efficiently and effectively” and noted that both sides are working diligently “to move this litigation at a fast pace.”
If you or a loved one are a prescribed user of Yaz, Yasmin, or Ocella and have experienced serious side effects or symptoms, contact Newsome Law Firm and fill out a case evaluation form today. Our team of attorneys has experience specific to complications associated with the side effects of prescription medication. Not only can they give you the legal guidance you need, they can help you get the compensation you deserve.