We have been talking about dangerous medical devices; now we move on to dangerous drugs. One of the largest drug companies in the world has made a settlement in a case concerning the birth control pill line known as Yasmin, after the product caused adverse side effects, including potentially fatal blood clots.
Bayer AG is expected to settle 500 lawsuits with a $110 million payout. Each anonymous case would receive about $220,000. Yasmin provided Bayer with about $1.58 billion in revenue, though since its release the product has been tied to multiple health risks.
The Food and Drug Administration's review of data from more than 800,000 women who took the contraceptives earned the German company a recommendation to put stronger warnings on the products about the risk of blood clots. For example, patients should know that the risk of a blood clot could be tripled with use of the drug. This means women's risk is increased dramatically when using Yasmin rather those other birth control methods.
A law professor commented that the settlement is a good idea for the company: Bayer will probably avoid going to court and will more than likely pay less in the long run. However, Bayer's U.S. spokesperson said there are a number of cases pending in the country. The exact number would not be provided.
To date, more than 11,000 lawsuits have been filed against the company regarding Yasmin. Some cases are even claiming the company knew of the higher risk, yet marketed them as a safer birth control.
Source: Bloomberg.com, "Bayer Said to Pay $110 Million in Yaz Birth-Control Cases," Jef Feeley and Margaret Cronin Fisk, April 13, 2012