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Yasmin/Yaz lawsuits alleged deep vein thrombosis (blood clots), pulmonary embolism (PE), and/or strokes from this birth control. 

Yasmin/Yaz has also been implicated in heart attacks and death. These Yasmin/Yaz lawsuits allege product liability, negligence, and failure to warn claims against Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceutical. 

What Is Yasmin/Yaz Used For?

Yaz, which was approved by the FDA in 2006, and Yasmin, which was approved in 2001, are oral contraceptives that combine estrogen and a fourth generation progestin to prevent pregnancy. They are also used to treat premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) and certain types of moderate acne in women.

How Does Yasmin/Yaz Cause Blood Clots, Pulmonary Embolism, And Strokes?

Many Yaz experts believe that the new fourth generation progestin component of the drug is more dangerous than the progestin used in comparable birth control medication. Yaz is a combination of oral contraceptives, meaning that they contain both estrogen and progestin hormones to prevent pregnancy. The difference between Yaz and Yasmin is the amount of estrogen. Yasmin contains 30 mcg ethinyl estradiol, while Yaz contains a lower dose of 20 mcg.

Yaz is also different because it is taken on a 24/4 day cycle instead of the usual 21/7 day cycle. This refers to the dosing schedule and means that women take active pills for three extra days and inactive pills for three fewer days (this is unrelated to the Yasmin/Yaz lawsuits, at least based on the current understanding). Birth control medications were developed in the 1960s; since that time, there have been four main types of progestin used. The progestin used in Yaz is called drospirenone and is a new fourth-generation progestin which has not been used in any other type of birth control pill to date (with the exception of a generic of Yaz). Because the progestin is new, there is little data to support claims that the hormone is safe when used in combination with estrogen to prevent pregnancy. On the contrary, the studies that have been done indicate that drospirenone is, as set forth below, more dangerous than the usual progestins that are used to prevent pregnancy.

Drospirenone increases potassium levels. The side effects of this may be disrupted heart rhythms, slow blood flow that allows the formation of clots. Those blood clots can also lead to stroke or pulmonary embolism.

Who Makes Yasmin/Yaz?

Yasmin/Yaz are manufactured by Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals.

What Do the Yasmin/Yaz Lawsuits Argue Bayer Did Wrong?

Plaintiff's suit alleges Bayer failed to warn women and their doctors of the increased risk of injury. Instead, Bayer overpromoted the benefits of the drugs, and advertised the drug for non-FDA approved uses (including treatment of PMS, bloating, muscle aches and fatigue).

In October 2008 the FDA sent Bayer a letter identifying that its television advertisements were untrue and that Yasmin/Yaz has additional risks because of its chemical makeup, as compared to other oral contraceptives. Bayer agreed to spend $20 million on corrective ads, many of which are airing on television now. The legal disputes, accordingly, center or whether Yaz caused deep vein thrombosis, heart attacks, strokes, gallbladder damage, kidney failure, myocardial infarctions, or pulmonary embolisms in individual patients.

As indicated above, Plaintiffs’ allege that Yaz, unlike under birth control pills, contains drospirenone, a diuretic. The presence of a diuretic in Yaz causes a rise in potassium which can lead to “hyperkalemia” or unsafe levels of potassium that disrupt heart rhythms and slow the flow of blood. The Yasmin/Yaz lawsuits allege that this can lead to blood clotting. According to a recent Yaz/Yasmin lawsuit in Ohio, over 50 deaths of Yaz and Yasmin users have been reported to the FDA. There is typically vast underreporting of adverse reports in drug death cases.

As a result, in the British Medical Journal, the Dutch College of General Practitioners suggest that its members forgo Yasmin/Yaz and use other forms of birth control, citing the 40 reported cases of venous thrombosis that include the death of a 17 year-old who suddenly collapsed and died after taking Yasmin for six months. Apparently, consumers share this concern: approximately 240 million units of the Yasmin family of birth-control products were produced in 2008; reports expect that sales will drop 25% in 2009.

Interestingly, there was a slow response to the concern about Yaz in the United States. There is now a (sort of) Yaz/Yasmin class action lawsuit where all federal lawsuits versus Yaz have been consolidated before one judge. Now, very quickly, lawsuits against Yaz are multiplying around the country.

What is the Current Status of the Yaz Legal Disputes?

All Yaz lawsuits filed in federal court were consolidated in what is a class action for discovery purposes. There were also Yaz proceedings pending in state court in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.  The great majority of these cases have all resolved. 

What is the amount of these Yaz settlements? We believe that many of these cases should be mid-six-figure cases and we believe the settlement value of some of these Yaz cases will be in the millions. (February 2019 Update: We may have overstated but just a little. These cases are settling for good values. But the average is more in the $250,000 range although some cases are settling for much more.) Our law firm is no longer accepting new Yaz or Yasmin cases.  

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