Blood Clot Risks with Yaz Birth Control [Podcast]
The birth control pills, Yasmin and Yaz, and the generic form, ocella, are under fire as 10,000 lawsuits have been filed against the German pharmaceutical company Bayer, and the generic drug makers, Barr Laboratories and Teva Pharmaceuticals. The medications are linked to higher rates of blood clots that caused personal injuries and have killed people.
In this Lawyers.com podcast, reporter Matt Plessner speaks with Michael London. He’s the plaintiffs’ co-lead counsel in the multi-district litigation and a partner at Douglas & London.
Michael says these drugs have caused deep vein thrombosis (DVT), blood clots in the veins, mostly in the legs; pulmonary embolisms (PE), meaning clots in the lungs; and strokes, resulting from clots in the brain. A synthetic progesterone called drospirenone (or DRSP) is a diuretic, which prevents the pill from causing bloating. However, this substance causes the dangerous and deadly clotting, according to plaintiffs’ claims.
Michael says doctors and patients reported a “mounting storm of adverse event reports” to the F.D.A., noting blood clots with Yaz, Yasmin and ocella. He and other lawyers claim the patients were not appropriately warned of the risks.
In Bayer’s 2012 annual report, the company noted for Yasmin and Yaz, as of Feb. 12, 2013, the number of claimants who filed lawsuits and claims not filed in court totaled about 13,600 (excluding settled claims). Bayer settled cases with approximately 4,800 people for $1 billion. Bayer is only settling claims in the United States for DVT and PE clotting. These injuries are alleged by about 3,200 of the yet unsettled claimants. Bayer is considering settlement of individual lawsuits on a case-by-case basis.
The report also noted that the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York is conducting an investigation of off-label promotion of Yaz and Yasmin. Bayer is cooperating. The company is expecting additional lawsuits.
Head, U.S. External Communications for Bayer, Rosemarie Yancosek, responded to Lawyers.com’s inquiries about whether Yaz and Yasmin cause blot clots, product safety and the medications’ benefits by sending this April 10, 2012 news release. It notes that in agreement with the F.D.A., Bayer updated the labels for drospirenone-containing oral contraceptions regarding the risks of blood clots.
(Photo of Bayer flags/AP Photo/Eckehard Schulz)