Yaz Lawsuits

Women who suffered side effects after taking Yaz and Yasmin have filed thousands of lawsuits against Bayer AG. More than 19,000 lawsuits have been resolved so far, according to court records. Lawsuits allege the pills caused blood clots, gallbladder problems, heart attacks and strokes. Federal multidistrict litigation closed in January 2019.

Yaz
Yaz Lawsuit Facts
  1. NUMBER OF LAWSUITS At one time, there were as many as 11,860 plaintiffs.
  2. PLAINTIFF INJURIES Blood clots (including deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism), heart attacks, strokes and gallbladder injuries
  3. DEFENDANTS Bayer
  4. MDL LOCATION Southern District of Illinois (MDL-2100), closed
  5. LITIGATION STATUS Bayer has settled more than 18,000 lawsuits, and the MDL closed in January 2019.
  6. TOP SETTLEMENTS More than $2 billion

Thousands of women who suffered injuries or side effects from the active ingredients drospirenone and ethinyl estradiol in Yaz and Yasmin birth control pills have filed suit.

The pills’ manufacturer, Bayer AG, denies any wrongdoing, telling ABC News in a statement that the drugs are as safe as other birth control pills when used correctly.

Those who alleged they were harmed by Yaz and Yasmin birth control pills and plaintiffs claiming that their loved ones died as a result of using the pills, assert that Bayer intentionally concealed knowledge of risks and misled the public about supposed benefits of the medications.

Several independent studies that surfaced in 2011 called into question the safety of birth control pills made with the synthetic estrogen drospirenone, an active ingredient in Yaz and Yasmin.

Fact
Over 19,000 Yaz claims were resolved through multidistrict litigation in United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois.
Source: Southern District Court of Illinois

The Food and Drug Administration confirmed in 2012 that drospirenone may increase a person’s risk of blood clots by as much as three times the risk of progestins such as levonorgestrel, which is used in older oral contraceptives.

Since the consolidated MDL in Illinois began in October 2009, more than 19,000 Yaz and Yasmin cases have been resolved, according to Judge David R. Herndon in his Order Recommending Termination of Multidistrict Litigation dated Dec. 18, 2018.

Bayer and litigation plaintiffs reached settlement agreements for cases involving blood clots, complications resulting from blood clots and gallbladder problems. The Plaintiff’s Steering Committee — a committee formed by plaintiffs’ attorneys to move litigation along — disbanded on Nov. 20, 2018.

With only a couple of cases awaiting final resolution, MDL No. 2100 “Yasmin and Yaz (drospirenone) Marketing, Sales Practices and Products Liability Litigation” closed on Jan. 2, 2019.

Yaz Lawsuit Claims

Many users of Yaz and Yasmin say they’ve suffered from heart, gallbladder and blood disorders. Thousands of injuries and more than 100 deaths are connected to the drugs’ severe side effects.

The FDA says the following problems have been linked to use of the drugs:
  • Heart arrhythmias
  • Electrolyte imbalance
  • Stroke
  • Gallbladder problems
  • Blood clots
  • Embolisms
  • Sudden death

In their lawsuits, people claim that Bayer knew or should have known of the alleged risks and, therefore, should be held liable for failing to disclose the risks and not adequately warning users.

People say Bayer marketed Yaz in a way that played up the benefits and downplayed serious dangers. They also accuse Bayer of not doing enough research and failing to issue a recall after reports showed evidence of risks.

The lawsuits allege the following claims against Bayer:
  • Negligence
  • Strict product liability
  • Breach of express and implied warranties
  • Fraudulent and negligent misrepresentation
  • Fraudulent concealment
  • Medical monitoring
  • Fraud and deceit
  • Violation of consumer protection statutes

Stories of Women Who Filed Lawsuits

Women who filed lawsuits against Bayer claim Yaz or Yasmin caused or was a contributing cause of health problems including gallbladder injuries, blood clots, stroke, kidney injuries and kidney failure.

Maggie Yunker of Illinois

Blood Clot in Brain
A blood clot in the brain cuts off the brain's blood supply, causing a stroke.

Maggie Yunker of Illinois suffered a life-altering stroke at age 20 after switching to Yaz from a different form of birth control pill, according to her lawsuit. Yunker had been taking birth control pills for about a year when her doctor suggested the switch.

Promised that Yaz could clear up her acne and relieve period symptoms, Yunker began taking the new birth control pill and later developed multiple blood clots that broke free and traveled to her brain. Once in the brain, the clots cut off blood flow and caused a stroke, according to her lawsuit. Bayer settled Yunker’s claim for $237,000.

In 2013, Yunker told the Chicago Tribune, “I didn’t think anything bad could happen, especially since a doctor was giving it to me… Any medicine has risk factors, but when you’re 20 you don’t think about it.”

Roughly 20,000 women were injured or died after taking Yaz, resulting in lawsuits similar to Yunker’s.

Carissa Ubersox of Wisconsin

Blood Clot in Lung
Blood clots, pictured above, can travel to the lungs.

In 2007, Carissa Ubersox was 24 and a new college graduate. She had just started working in her new role as a pediatric nurse when her boyfriend surprised her with a marriage proposal on Christmas Day.

Ubersox wanted to “look and feel her best for her wedding day,” so she switched her birth control to Yaz. A commercial made it sound “like a miracle drug,” she later told ABC News.

But in February 2008, just three months after she began taking Yaz, Ubersox said her legs began to ache, which she shrugged off as being a side effect of standing on her feet for 12-hour nursing shifts.

But soon, Ubersox found herself gasping for air. Blood clots in her legs had traveled through her bloodstream to her lungs, resulting in a double pulmonary embolism that nearly took her life. Her fiancé called 911 and on the way to the hospital, her heart stopped. Revived by emergency doctors, she remained in a coma for almost two weeks.

When Ubersox awoke, she was blind. Ubersox sued Bayer after losing her eyesight, her career and her fiancé, as reported by ABC News, alleging “Yaz [was] to blame.”

Other Lawsuits Filed Against Bayer

Amy Crider of Kansas
Suffered gallbladder injuries and had to have her gallbladder removed
Ginny Buxton of Illinois
Suffered kidney failure
Lisa Boyd of Mississippi
Suffered a stroke
Elisa Cady of Missouri
Suffered a pulmonary embolism (a blockage in one of the arteries in the lungs), deep venous thrombosis (a blood clot in one of the deep veins in the body) and hyperkalemia (a serious condition involving elevated potassium levels)
Kara Mitchell of Florida
Suffered a bilateral pulmonary embolism (a blockage affecting both lungs) after taking the birth control pills for one year
Eric and Amy Morris of Mississippi
Sued for their daughter, who suffered deep vein thrombosis and a stroke after taking a generic form of Yaz and is now permanently disabled

Consolidating Yaz Lawsuits

In 2009, all Yaz and Yasmin federal cases from across the country were consolidated for greater efficiency since they shared similar claims against common defendants. The multidistrict litigation (MDL) was transferred to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois and assigned to U.S. District Judge David R. Herndon.

During the litigation, Bayer failed to exclude an expert for plaintiffs: former FDA commissioner Dr. David Kessler. Kessler, who served from 1990 to 1997, said Bayer withheld vital information about the risks associated with Yaz during the approval process.

He also said that an FDA advisory committee’s vote to keep Yaz on the market was tainted by conflicts of interest. Bayer argued that Kessler didn’t have the credentials to be an expert. The judge disagreed.

As of January 15, 2019, no cases remained in the MDL.

Meanwhile, hundreds of lawsuits were also filed and consolidated in state courts in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and California. Yaz pulmonary embolism cases were supposed to be the first to go to trial with one test case selected by Bayer and another case selected by the plaintiffs.

The next round was to involve women who suffered from gallbladder injuries, and the final round was to include blood clot injuries.

However, Judge Herndon postponed the bellwether proceedings and ordered both sides to mediation. The state court cases in Pennsylvania and New Jersey were also postponed, awaiting the mediation outcome. By March 2014, Bayer had settled 8,250 cases for $1.7 billion.

Less than two years later, the number of settled cases had more than doubled, with Bayer on the hook for more than $2 billion. As of November 2018, 13 cases remained pending under the MDL.

Please seek the advice of a medical professional before making health care decisions.

Michelle Llamas, Senior Content Writer
Written By Michelle Llamas Senior Writer

Michelle Llamas has been writing articles and producing podcasts about drugs, medical devices and the FDA for seven years. She specializes in fluoroquinolone antibiotics and products that affect women’s health such as Essure birth control, transvaginal mesh and talcum powder. Michelle collaborates with experts, including board-certified doctors, patients and advocates, to provide trusted health information to the public. Some of her qualifications include:

  • American Medical Writers Association (AMWA) Engage Committee and Membership Committee member
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Health Literacy certificates
  • Original works published or cited in The Lancet, British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology and the Journal for Palliative Medicine
Edited By

10 Cited Research Articles

  1. Bayer. (n.d.). Annual Report 2015. Legal Risks. Retrieved from http://www.annualreport2015.bayer.com/financial-statements/notes-to-the-consolidated-financial-statements-of-the-bayer-group/notes-to-the-statements-of-financial-position/legal-risks.html
  2. Cuomo, C. et al. (2011, October 14). New Studies Find Yaz More Risky Than Other Leading Birth Control Pills: ABC News Investigates. Retrieved from http://abcnews.go.com/TheLaw/studies-find-yaz-risky-leading-birth-control-pills/story?id=14741760
  3. Deardorff, J. (2013, September 15). Lawsuits pile up over popular birth control pill. Retrieved from http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-09-15/health/ct-met-birth-control-risks-20130915_1_drospirenone-clots-pills
  4. FDA. (2012, April 10). FDA Drug Safety Communication: Updated information about the risk of blood clots in women taking birth control pills containing drospirenone. Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/ucm299305.htm
  5. Hrenchir, T. (2015, September 2). 10 Most-Prescribed Antidepressant Medications. Retrieved from http://www.newsmax.com/Health/Health-Wire/most-prescribed-antidepressant-medications/2015/09/02/id/673123/
  6. In re: Yasmin and Yaz (drospirenone) Marketing, Sales Practices and Products Liability Litigation. (2009, October 1). Transfer Order. Retrieved from https://www.ilsd.uscourts.gov/documents/mdl2100/2100FAQ.pdf
  7. Palmer, E. (2012, April 13). Bloomberg: Bayer to pay $110 million to get out from under 500 Yaz lawsuits. Retrieved from http://www.fiercepharma.com/regulatory/bloomberg-bayer-to-pay-110-million-to-get-out-from-under-500-yaz-lawsuits
  8. Reuters. (2013, April 16). Actavis to sell generic Yaz birth control after ruling. Retrieved from http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-04-16/lifestyle/sns-rt-us-bayer-yasmin-patentbre93f13y-20130416_1_yaz-lupin-ltd-yasmin
  9. United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois. (n.d.). Multidistrict Litigation MDL 2100 - Yasmin and YAZ (drospirenone) Marketing, Sales Practices and Products Liability Litigation. Retrieved from http://www.ilsd.uscourts.gov/mdl/mdl2100.aspx
  10. United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation. (2018, December 17). MDL Statistics Report - Distribution of Pending MDL Dockets by District. Retrieved from https://www.jpml.uscourts.gov/sites/jpml/files/Pending_MDL_Dockets_By_District-December-17-2018.pdf
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