August 1, 2012 — Bayer AG has paid $402.6 million to settle almost 1,900 Yasmin lawsuits. Most of the lawsuits allege that Bayer failed to adequately warn about the risk of blood clots, which can lead to heart attacks, strokes, pulmonary embolisms, severe venous damage, and death. Each blood clot case has been settled for an average of $212,000.
Bayer is also in the process of settling Yaz lawsuits. The company has set aside $610.5 million to settle those cases. In 2010 and 2011, the company set aside about $250 million. The company may be forced to pay $1.2 billion to settle all of the lawsuits.
The information was published in a stockholders newsletter, which also said that the company was raising revenue and earnings forecasts. Revenue is expected to increase 4-5% to approximately $50 billion dollars.
The newsletter also mentioned that the company is facing approximately 12,000 Yasmin lawsuits. Of these, approximately 6,000 lawsuits involve venous blood clots, which have caused injuries such as Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolisms. Bayer is actively settling these types of cases.
Bayer has refused to settle lawsuits from women who allege Yasmin caused arterial blood clots. These clots can cause stroke, heart attack, severe brain damage, and death. Some of the most serious Yasmin lawsuits involve arterial blood clots. Bayer is also refusing to settle lawsuits from women who suffered gallbladder injuries or gallstones after taking Yasmin.
Yasmin is a birth control pill that was first sold in 2001. It was the first in a new line of oral contraceptives to contain drospirenone, a synthetic version of the female hormone progestin. Bayer launched Yasmin with an advertising campaign that implied Yasmin was superior to other contraceptives because it could treat acne and PMS — indications the FDA never approved. The FDA sent Bayer a warning letter about the ads in 2003, and again in 2008 and 2009 when the same problems were found in Yaz advertisements. By the time researchers linked drospirenone to as much as a three-fold increased risk of blood clots, tens of thousands of women had already been injured. At least 50 deaths have been linked to the birth control pills.
The lawsuits have been centralized into a Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, East St. Louis, before Judge David Herndon. After Judge Herndon scheduled trials, Bayer requested a mediator. Stephen Saltzburg, a George Washington University law professor, was appointed to mediate potential settlements. The trials were put on hold and Saltzburg has successfully begun mediating settlements. Saltzburg has said that he expects the majority of the cases to be settled next year.
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