Bayer sets aside $1 billion to settle Yasmin and Yaz claims

Yasmin, the oral contraceptive, was introduced to the market in 2001. The drug's manufacturer, Bayer, marketed the drug as a treatment for acne and severe premenstrual symptoms, in addition to its birth control benefits. The drug was a hit, bringing in $1.47 billion in sales during 2010 alone.

Although the drug was a financial success, it came with a price-deadly side effects. The drug has been linked to an increased risk of blood clots that often result in heart attacks and strokes. As a result, since 2009, Bayer has been hit with a barrage of lawsuits claiming that it failed to warn consumers of the drug's health risk and that it knew or should have known of the adverse side effects.

As a result of the litigation, Bayer recently announced that it has reached agreements to pay $1 billion in settlements to 4,800 women in the United States who say they were harmed by taking Yasmin or Yaz (its sister drug). The company is only settling claims for blood clot injuries. Currently, there are about 10,000 lawsuits that are pending against the manufacturer.

How Yaz is different

Yasmin and Yaz is different from other oral contraceptives, because they contain a synthetic form of progestin (progestin drospirenone) and a smaller amount of ethinylestradiol, an estrogen that is commonly paired with progestin. The Drospirenone is a diuretic, meaning that it causes the body to lose water. This can increase the risk of blood clots and can elevate the levels of potassium in the body. Too much potassium in the body can lead to hyperkalemia, which can cause abnormal heartbeats, muscle fatigue and paralysis.

According to a 2011 study of Danish women, oral contraceptives that contain drospirenone increase the risk of venous thromboembolism-the formation of blood clots in the thigh or lower leg-by six times. Although many other birth control medications can raise the risk of thromboembolism, the study found that Yasmin and Yaz double the risk.

As a result of the study and its own investigations, the Food and Drug Administration ordered Bayer to strengthen blood clot warnings on labels of Yasmin and Yaz.

Consult an attorney

If you or a loved one has been injured while or after taking Yasmin or Yaz, you may be entitled to recover damages. Contact an experienced products liability attorney who can evaluate your claim and ensure that your right to compensation is protected.