According to Bayer’s 2013 Annual Report (found online at annualreport2013.bayer.com), as of February 10, 2014, the number of claimants in pending lawsuits was around 4,600, not counting claims that were already settled. Bayer notes that the lawsuits seek compensatory and punitive damages for failure to adequately warn of the risks of serious side effects.
Also as of February 10, 2014, Bayer had settled the claims of approximately 8,250 claimants in the US, totaling around $1.69 billion. The company reached those settlements without admission of liability.
“Bayer has only been settling claims in the U.S. for venous clot injuries (deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism) after a case-specific analysis of medical records on a rolling basis,” the company noted. Of the remaining 4,600 claims, Bayer estimates that around 1,950 claimants make a similar injury claim.
Furthermore, in 2013, Bayer agreed to settle lawsuits alleging gallbladder injuries linked to the use of Yasmin/Yaz. Those lawsuits were settled for around $24 million and cover approximately 8,800 plaintiffs. The gallbladder lawsuits were also settled without an admission of liability.
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Lawsuits filed against Bayer concerning Yasmin and Yaz allege women were put at an increased risk of venous clot injuries but were not warned about those risks. Some women suffered permanent injury while others allegedly died from blood clots that lead to heart attacks or strokes. So-called “fourth generation” birth control pills - those that contain drospirenone - have been linked in some studies to an increased risk of blood clots, although other studies have found no such risk.
The FDA voted in 2011 to keep Yasmin and Yaz on the market, despite concerns about the increased risks. Critics are concerned that women are using fourth generation birth control when older birth control is available without as great an increased risk of blood clots.