As the 4,200+ cases against Bayer over the serious side effects and alleged injuries and deaths caused by Yaz, Yasmin, and Ocella proceed, it remains unclear exactly how the drug might be responsible for gallbladder damage. There is a correlation between increased gallbladder issues and the use of the drugs, but doctors and lawyers have yet to demonstrate exactly how the problem arises.
A CBS Business Network article reports that federal judge Herndon, the judge overseeing the multidistrict litigation against Bayer, said that about 43% of the claims against the company allege gallbladder disease as a result of taking the pills. The article cites a court document in which Bayer denies all responsibility for the gallbladder claims. There appears to be a statistically higher rate of gallbladder disease in the young women who took Yaz, Yasmin, or Ocella than in women who have not used the drugs, but there is still not enough scientific evidence to determine how the damage occurs.
An Injury Board article suggests, “The hormones in these birth control pills may increase cholesterol levels in bile and decrease gallbladder movement. This process can create gallstones, which can cause serious problems if they become trapped in the bile ducts.” Many of the plaintiffs claim they had to have gallbladder surgery or removal due to Yaz and Yasmin.
It remains to be seen how the courts will proceed in the gallbladder cases. The first of the gallbladder cases will begin in early 2012 as part of Herndon’s attempt to gauge the reactions of juries to help prompt a satisfactory settlement of thousands of cases waiting in his court.
Edwards, Jim. (October 21, 2010) “Do Birth Control Pills Cause Gallbladder Damage? Bayer Will Find Out — in Court.” Retrieved on October 21, 2010 from the CBS Business Network.
Emison, Brett. (September 27, 2010) “Did You Know… Popular Birth Control Pills (Yaz and Yasmin) Can Cause Serious Side Effects?” Retrieved on October 21, 2010 from the Injury Board.