Lawyers in our firm’s Mass Torts Section are pleased to report that after years of litigation involving Bayer’s drosperinone-containing oral contraceptives, including Yaz, Yasmin, Ocella, Gianvi, Beyaz, and Safryl (Yaz), Bayer has finally agreed to settle the claims of approximately 1,300 individuals who suffered Arterial Thrombotic Event (ATE) injuries while taking Yaz, including ischemic stroke and heart attack. The ATE injury claims represent the bulk of the remaining cases pending against Bayer over the once-blockbuster DRSP line of oral contraceptives.
Bayer previously settled thousands of Venous Thrombotic Event (VTE) injuries, including pulmonary embolism and deep vein thrombosis, after numerous medical studies found that the risk of VTE injuries was significantly greater with Yaz compared to other oral contraceptives, and after the FDA required Bayer to update its Yaz warning label to warn doctors and patients of the increased risk. Throughout the litigation, however, Bayer has remained resolute that Yaz does not increase the risk of ATE injuries above the risk seen with other oral contraceptives. The settlement was reached only after the courts forced the parties into negotiations.
Yasmin, which was first introduced in the United States in 2001, was marketed by Bayer as having fewer side effects, mainly less weight gain, than older oral contraceptives. Yaz, which was introduced in 2006 prior to Yasmin’s patent expiration, was eventually marketed as an effective treatment of premenstrual dysphoric disorder and acne. Bayer’s marketing tactics quickly led the DRSP line of oral contraceptives to become blockbuster sellers, though Bayer was repeatedly under fire from the FDA for improper marketing techniques and off-label marketing messages.
Unlike the VTE injury settlements, which have been handled by Bayer on a case-by-case basis, the ATE settlement is a global settlement program through which any claimant alleging an ATE injury can participate. The deadline for enrolling in the ATE Settlement Program is Sept. 12, 2015. Bayer reserved the right to cancel the Settlement Program if at least 97 percent of the ATE injury cases do not enroll. If you need more information on this litigation, contact Roger Smith, a lawyer in our firm’s Mass Torts Section, at 800-898-2034 or by email at Roger.Smith@beasleyallen.com.
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