Bayer AG’s 2012 year-end annual report contains some interesting information on the litigation involving Yaz and Yasmin. The company’s released numbers have made it clear that the German AG is both ready and willing to continue settling claims in the six-figure range. It also is indicated that Bayer wants to do so at a faster pace. Bayer has serious exposure to Yaz and Yasmin victims that have claims relating to blood clot injuries.
Bayer AG’s Yaz and Yasmin birth control products have, according to the company’s recently released 2012 year-end financial information, been a real problem for the drug manufacturer. In Bayer’s prior third quarter 2012 report, the company admitted to as many as 12,000 lawsuits, as well as $750 million in payouts to settle 3,500 cases. It appears that, in the last quarter alon, Bayer has settled over 1,000 claims worth approximately $250 million. Now the thousands of claims that remain unsettled have been consolidated into an MDL in the District of Illinois, known formally as Yasmin and Yaz (Drospirenone) Marketing, Sales Practices and Products Liability Litigation (MDL No. 2100, Southern District Illinois). On January 14th, 2013, the MDL US Judicial Panel confirmed that there are in fact 9,455 actions currently pending in that litigation.
Bayer informed its shareholders in its year-end 2012 disclosure that it will continue to settle as many of these cases as it can. The company also disclosed that 4,800 additional claims involving blood clot injuries like deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or pulmonary embolism have settled at a cost of approximately $1 billion. To put this in perspective, Bayer reported annual 2012 revenues totaling $52 billion, leaving the $1 billion spent so far for litigation expenses as a substantial, but ultimately manageable expense for the German pharmaceutical AG.
Bayer intends to commit as much as $1.5 billion in litigation reserves to settle blood clot-type injury claims. The likelihood of settlement is not surprising in light of the harmful effects the drugs have had on women, including blood clots, strokes, heart attacks, and death. At present, Bayer has only indicated that it is willing to settle certain blood clot injury cases. Yaz and Yasmin drugs have been prescribed for over 100 million women throughout the country. It’s significant that Yaz and Yasmin ranks as the second-highest drug leading to complications reported to the FDA in 2011. It is also one of the most popular birth control remedies on the market. This gives risk to the potential of additional claims. If you have any questions about 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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