Birth control pill prices continue to rise while Bayer sets aside money in preparation to defend against thousands of claims that the company failed to adequately warn young women of the potentially heightened risks involved with taking Yaz, Yasmin and Ocella. Bayer continues to release new products containing the same ingredients as Yaz without seriously considering the health and safety of the individuals affected by their products. Some articles have claimed that as many as 50 women have died as a result of the adverse side effects of Yaz, Yasmin, and Ocella.
The University Daily Kansan reports the median price of a month worth of birth control pills has gone up from about $7 ten years ago to more than $60 in 2010. While the Deficit Reduction Act of 2009 gives college health centers the potential to sell discounted contraceptives, the act leaves it up to the manufacturers to decide whether or not to do so, the article notes.
Pharmacist Cathy Thrasher of the Watkins Memorial Health Center was reported as saying, “the manufacturers were now more interested in spending their money on advertising and offering voucher cards rather than discounts.” The vouchers give consumers a limited-time discount in the hopes that they will continue with the prescription after the discounts cease. The article mentioned mild side effects, but said nothing of the risk of blood clots, heart attack, or stroke currently alleged by plaintiffs in Yaz, Yasmin, and Ocella lawsuits.
However, in late September 2010, the Human Rights section of Foreign Policy Blogs reported, “The evidence has mounted around the globe that Yaz is an unsafe option, that the advertisements used by Bayer to promote Yaz obscured the health risks, and even that the manufacturing plants producing Yaz are not properly producing the drug.” How many more injuries, deaths, and lawsuits will it take before Bayer makes changes?
Corsi, Jessica. (September 27, 2010) “Yaz Birth Control Controversy: Pharmaceutical Profits, Unnecessary Risks, and the Gendered Distribution of Family Planning.” Retrieved on November 5, 2010 from the Foreign Policy Blogs Human Rights.
Patton, Justine. (October 26, 2010) “Oral contraceptive prices on the rise.” Retrieved on November 5, 2010 from the University Daily Kansan.