Bayer has agreed to settle about 70 of the approximately 11,300 product liability claims involving the oral contraceptives Yaz and Yasmin, according to the drug company’s latest annual report. “As of Feb. 13, 2012, Bayer had reached agreements, without admission of liability, to settle the claims of approximately 70 Plaintiffs in the U.S. at terms and conditions which Bayer views to be reasonable,” the company said in the legal risks section of its 2011 annual report. The terms of those settlements were not disclosed in that report.
According to the report, as of February 1, there were about 11,300 lawsuits pending in the U.S. filed on behalf of those alleging injury or death as a result of the use of Yaz and Yasmin, or the generic versions of the drugs, Ocella and Gianvi. As we have stated in prior issues, Yaz and Yasmin are in a class of drospirenone-containing oral contraceptives. Recent studies have found that drospirenone causes a greater risk of blood clots than similar ingredients used in previous types of birth control pills. The lawsuits against Bayer allege that taking Yaz and Yasmin can cause heart attacks, strokes and gallbladder failure. It’s also alleged that the drug company failed to warn of those risks.
All cases pending in federal court have been consolidated in multidistrict litigation in Illinois. In a decision last May, the MDL judge denied the Plaintiffs’ request for class certification. The first bellwether Yaz and Yasmin trials were originally scheduled to begin in September 2011. But, Judge Herdon, the MDL judge, has been pushing the parties towards settlement. Bayer says in its annual report that, in December, the MDL judge stayed the first case set for trial and ordered the parties to mediation. Bayer has acknowledged that it expects additional Yaz and Yasmin lawsuits to be filed. Anybody who needs additional information relating to the Yaz and Yasmin litigation, contact Roger Smith, a lawyer in our Mass Torts Section, at 800-898-2034 or by email at Roger.Smith@beasleyallen.com.
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