Bayer could pay more than $1.2 billion to settle personal injury lawsuits over the company’s Yaz and Yasmin birth control pills, according to a recent stock filing. As part of its second quarter stockholder update, Bayer told investors that it’s currently facing 12,325 Yaz and Yasmin lawsuits. As you most likely know from prior Reports, Yaz and Yasmin are oral contraceptives that contain drospirenone, a synthetic progestin. Drospirenone causes a greater risk of blood clots than similar ingredients used in other types of birth control pills.
Recent studies confirm that taking Yaz and Yasmin can cause pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis, and other clotting injuries including heart attacks and strokes. The drug company failed to warn that users of Yaz and Yasmin were much more likely to suffer these injuries than users of older, less expensive birth control pills. To date, Bayer said it has resolved 1,877 cases for $402.6 million on a case-by-case basis. Of the more than 12,000 remaining suits, Bayer told investors it is currently settling only those alleging blood clot injuries, which it said numbered about 6,000.
In April, the Food and Drug Administration released a safety announcement that drospirenone-containing birth control pills like Yaz and Yasmin may be associated with a higher risk of blood clots than progestin-containing pills. Bayer said the remaining lawsuits will cost the company an estimated $1.2 billion. That would be the case if they settle for roughly the same amount prior settlements have averaged. The company wrote:
On the assumption that the number of lawsuits will continue to decline and that we will be able to settle future claims of this kind for amounts similar on average to those agreed to date and based on the information currently available, we believe that we have made appropriate provisions for most of the cases we consider to be worthy of settlement with these accounting measures and the now exhausted insurance coverage.
Bayer did not disclose its plans regarding the remaining 6,000 suits alleging injuries other than blood clots. Federal litigation against the company is currently consolidated as an MDL in the Southern District of Illinois for pretrial proceedings. Our firm currently has 121 suits pending in the Court of Common Pleas, Philadelphia, Pa., in the mass tort/complex litigation division. If you need additional information concerning Yaz and Yasmin, 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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