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Despite Yasmin Lawsuits, Bayer Presses On

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Washington, DCHer user name is Eve84 and she's very concerned about Yasmin birth control, according to a message board posting back in February.

"I switched to Yasmin 3 years ago, my doctor recommended it to me. I can't even remember the reason," Eve84 writes in a Yasmin & Yaz survivor's forum. "Anyway, since then I have had an increasingly strong pain under the right side of my ribcage, a pain that shots (sic) through to my back. Sometimes the pain [shoots] to the other side, but only occasionally. I thought it was just a gallstone or something. But lately its been getting worse.

"Secondly, all of a sudden at random times I have chest pains, like its painful to inhale. I get such strong migraines sometimes, for no apparent reason," that cause her to vomit. "Also, I have had panic attacks - and im (sic) not a stressed person and have no reason for it.

"Third, I have developed strange bumps that bleed when scratched on my arms that recently [have] spread to my legs. I went to the doctor and it puzzled him. He said what I describe sounds sort of like ezcema (sic) but it doesn't look like he would expect. He told me just to keep putting moisturizer on it.

"…I'm starting to wonder if its possible that its been caused by the yasmin (sic) pill? I am scared yet at the same time there would be such a relief [to discover] the cause... for a while I thought my body was just dying on me.

"I am 27…"

Are Eve84's problems, even at such a young age, due to Yasmin side effects?

Even while Bayer AG is in the throes of settling a myriad of lawsuits due to Yasmin blood clots and other adverse reactions, the pharmaceutical giant is pursuing new opportunities to grow its footprint in the lucrative contraceptive market with an application to the European medicines authority for approval of a contraceptive skin patch.

According to Reuters Health Medical News (9/20/12), Bayer is also in talks with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in an effort to potentially market the new product here.

Reuters says that Bayer wants to compete with Johnson & Johnson's (J&J) Ortho Evra birth control patch, which is currently available both in the US and Europe, but not without some controversy. US regulators note that J&J's Ortho Evra needs a more simplified label that would better articulate the risk of blood clots for that product.

It is assumed, were Bayer's new product—produced in conjunction with a Swiss firm—to win market approval in the US, it would carry similar warnings over blood clots.

Yasmin DVT pundits wonder why Bayer would pursue yet another product that could result in injury or death due to deep vein thrombosis (DVT), or blood clot.

The answer may partially lie in Bayer's uncompromising defense of Yasmin—and its close cousin Yaz—stating unequivocally that all contraceptives carry risk for blood clot. The risk for Yasmin blood clots, therefore, is no better or worse than any other contraceptive, with Yaz side effects held against a similar viewpoint.

Further, Bayer has said—according to Reuters—that a transdermal contraceptive patch applied once per week would be expected to generate sales of 250 to 500 million euros, or US $325 to $650 million.

While health critics continue to demand that Yasmin birth control and Yaz be taken off the market, Bayer continues to promote its product as safe in spite of various studies and even FDA warnings that caution users over the potential for increase risk of blood clots.

Yaz lawsuits, together with those filing a Yasmin lawsuit, number into the thousands. Businessweek reported recently that Bayer had resolved almost 1,900 lawsuits at a cost to Bayer of more than $402 million, broken down to be about $212,000 on average, per case.

Rather than allow for Yasmin side effects, and related lawsuits, to serve as a deterrent against the contraceptive market, Bayer is poised to increase its stake with a new product that carries, according to the Reuters report, a "good" safety profile in clinical trials involving 4,200 women.

Health critics speculate that 'good,' may not be good enough to protect consumers, but is probably allowable given the present-day regulatory framework. Such a regulatory environment may not help people like Eve84, who wonders if Yasmin birth control has been doing her more harm, than good.

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READER COMMENTS


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I was put on Yasmin in/and around 2010-2011 for the treatment of mild acne and mood swings. After about 3 months I noticed I was a lot more tired than usual, I had headaches more often and I noticed a pinching pain in my thighs. I thought nothing of it, and assumed it was stress from moving to a new town. About a month after that my calves began to go numb and I still had frequent pinching in my thighs- Later that month I confronted my family doctor about it. She thought nothing of it and changed me over to YAZ. After about 2 months the pinching got worse and the numb feeling was moving up my legs. Without my doctor's knowledge I immediately stopped taking YAZ and recovered very slowly. Prior to the immediate stop of YAZ I stopped going out anywhere- It hurt to walk; Thus I dropped out of high school. I've never confronted my doctor about this, nor do I want to. I never want to feel that EVER again.

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