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Yaz Lawsuits Continue to Climb Despite Settlement Negotiations

Defective Drugs

Two new lawsuits were filed this week against Bayer Corporation by Cal Warriner and Brenda Fulmer on behalf of clients from Oregon. The first lawsuit involves a 37 year old single woman employed in the accounting industry from Portland, Oregon. She ingested both Yaz and Gianvi for less than a year when she developed a sudden onset of slurred speech and paresthesias. She was evaluated by emergency room personnel and a neurologist who diagnosed the event as a birth control-related thromboembolism. More than a year later, she continues to suffer from the aftermath of this stroke, which has permanently impaired her vision and her ability to work full-time.

The other Yaz lawsuit involves a 48 year old plaintiff from Hood River, Oregon. She ingested Yaz and Gianvi for a few years before developing a deep vein thrombosis that has been linked to her use of these popular birth control pills. As has been the case with many Yaz plaintiffs who have filed lawsuits, this Oregon woman had utilized other forms of birth control, including pills that contained a different progestin than the Yaz family of drugs, without incident. 

While it is true that all birth control pills have the ability to cause blood clot-related injuries, it has also been well documented in the medical literature that women who ingest drugs that include the progestin drospirenone (which would include Yaz, Yasmin, Ocella, Gianvia, Safyral, Beyaz, and others) face a two to five-fold increased risk of blood clot-related injuries without receiving any significant increased benefits to offset this risk. In our experience, we are finding that there are also women who had pre-existing (and undiagnosed) familial clotting issues, such as Factor V leiden, who had never experienced any issues whatsoever with other birth control, but did suffer blood clot-related harm while taking Yaz or similar drugs.

The partners of the Mass Tort Unit at Searcy Denney attended a status conference last week with Judge David Herndon, who oversees the coordinated national litigation over Yaz, Yasmin, Ocella, Gianvi, and other oral contraceptives that contain drospirenone. Judge Herndon noted that the number of settlements in the litigation so far now tops 1,500 individual lawsuits, which is a substantial increase from the paltry 70 settled cases reported earlier this year at another MDL hearing. Judge Herndon has encouraged the parties to continue negotiations, which, thus far, have been limited to personal injury and wrongful death claims involving deep vein thrombosis (DVT), pulmonary emboli (PE), strokes (CVA), heart attacks (MI), and other blood clot-related injuries. The court has not yet indicated what may happen to the thousands of gallbladder injury cases that are currently in limbo.

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