January 6, 2012 — Bloomberg reports that a judge has postponed the start of the first Yaz and Yasmin lawsuit brought against Bayer AG, Germany’s largest drug-maker.
The company faces more than 10,000 Yaz lawsuits and Yasmin lawsuits, and it was scheduled to begin trial on January 9, 2012. Instead, U.S. District Judge David Herndon of Illinois has ordered the case into mediation and settlement negotiations before Stephen Saltzburg, a law professor at George Washington University.
The voluminous cases were recently consolidated in federal court before Judge Herndon in Illinois for pretrial information exchanges. Herndon scheduled several early cases to determine whether Bayer intentionally advertised Yaz and Yasmin as safer than alternative birth control pills, when it actually knew that the alternative pills were safer.
By delaying the first trial, Herndon is giving Bayer a chance to settle outside the courtroom via mediation.
Saltzburg, the mediator assigned to this issue, successfully mediated a settlement regarding AstraZeneca Plc’s anti-psychotic drug Seroquel. The company faced more than 26,000 lawsuits, and Saltzburg mediated an agreement in which the company set aside $600 million to settle the suits.
If Bayer decides not to settle the Yaz and Yasmin cases, the federal judge will reschedule the Yaz lawsuits and Yasmin lawsuits for trial.
Yaz and Yasmin belong to a new group of birth control pills that contain drospirenone, a synthetic version of the female sex hormone progestin. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and regulators are concerned about the safety of drospirenone, after a FDA study of more than 835,000 women found that they were 74% more likely to develop a blood clot while taking drospirenone, compared to older forms of birth control.
Though the numerical risk of developing a blood clot is small (roughly 10 per 10,000 women taking drospirenone versus 6 per 10,000 women taking levonorgestrel), because millions of women use Yaz and Yasmin, the slightly increased risk translates into tens of thousands of blood clots and adverse events. If you have suffered a blood clot as a result of taking this medication, you may have a Yaz lawsuit or a Yasmin lawsuit and be entitled to compensation.
If a blood clot forms in the body, it can sometimes break loose (called an “embolism”), and travel through the body. If it becomes stuck in the heart, brain, lungs, or other major internal organ, it can cause a heart attack, stroke, pulmonary embolism, and death. Lawyers have filed thousands of Yaz lawsuits and Yasmin lawsuits on behalf of women who have died or been injured. Between 2004 and 2008, at least 50 women have died as a direct result of their birth control pills.