Although Abaray won't discuss the details at this time, at least one of the suits filed is a wrongful death suit. "Yes, we have filed a wrongful death suit in Wisconsin and we are investigating others right now," says Abaray.
As many as 50 deaths across the US, including the death of a 17-year-old woman, have been linked to the Yasmin and Yaz birth control people and reported to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) between 2004 and 2008.
The Yasmin and Yaz birth control pills were originally marketed as being the safest birth control pill ever produced when they were first released in 2001. Unlike previous versions, Bayer used a synthetic kind of synthetic progesterone. "It is really a new molecular entity. There is no history or track record for this product prior to it being introduced for widespread use," says Abaray.
"We already know that this progesterone was different than the other progesterone. It promotes dehydration and means less bloating. That was part of the benefit supposedly," says Abaray. "However, if you are losing fluid and keeping potassium in your system at the same time that can have some dramatic effects."
Elevated potassium levels are frequently included among the symptoms of those suffering fatalities while using Yasmin or Yaz.
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Abaray's firm, Burg Simpson Eldredge Hersh & Jardine, is taking a leading role in the litigation against Bayer's birth control pill. And although there are several male lawyers working on the file, Abaray feels that women lawyers may have an advantage when it comes to understanding the mechanics of the female reproductive system. "I do think that in terms of understanding the initial issues and the potential risks, women may be able to relate to this better than men."
Janet Abaray is an attorney with Burg Simpson Eldredge Hersh & Jardine in Cincinnati. Abaray is a seasoned pharmaceutical product liability attorney and has represented plaintiffs in well-known actions against the makers L-Tryptophan, Albuterol, Heparin and the Fen/Phen diet pill.