There has been surprisingly little news coverage surrounding the Bayer birth control controversy. Over 4,000 women and their families have filed suit in the United States against the multinational pharmaceutical company. Most stories about the Yaz, Yasmin, and Ocella lawsuits deal with individual consumer experiences of adverse side effects of the drugs.
A recent financial news report by Zacks Investment Research reports that Bayer, “recorded a 16.1% growth in revenues to €8,581 million. Growth was witnessed across all divisions at Bayer.” Further, Bayer reported 436 million Euros worth of “litigation charges.” The article added, “The Yaz franchise posted a disappointing performance in the US due to generic competition.” There was no mention of how the 4,000 pending Yaz lawsuits may have affected sales.
An AFP article about Bayer’s quarterly financial reports mentioned that Bayer was ordered to pay U.S. rice farmers $48 million dollars over contamination from the company’s genetically engineered rice crops. The article reports, “Bayer said it had also booked 50 million Euros in charges at its HealthCare division “for further anticipated defense costs in connection with YAZ/Yasmin,” its blockbuster oral contraceptives.”
The first Yaz bellwether trials are scheduled to begin in September 2011 and proceed throughout 2012. Bayer has told reporters it plans on fighting the lawsuits against it. The company continues to market Yaz and Yasmin and has made agreements to provide generic versions of the drugs to other companies. In October, Bayer released yet another replica of Yaz called Beyaz. The drug is identical to previous incarnations with the exception of a folate supplement added to the mix.
It is unlikely that Bayer will emerge from the Yaz trials unscathed. However, they show no signs of readiness to reach a settlement in the upcoming legal action.
Grogan, Kevin. (October 28, 2010) “Bayer income up but pharma sales stagnate.” Retrieved on November 5, 2010 from Pharma Times Online.
Ickes, William. (October 27, 2010) “Profits jump at BASF and Bayer.” Retrieved on November 5, 2010 from Google Hosted News.