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Yaz Litigation in Mass Tort Coordination

10/7/2009
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The United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation issued its order on October 1, 2009, establishing MDL No. 2100 for individual lawsuits filed by women who have been injured or died as a result of their ingestion of Yasmin and Yaz oral contraceptive products.  All of the cases pending in federal courts will be transferred to Judge David R. Herndon in the Southern District of Illinois.  The initial transfer order includes 32 cases that have been filed by patients in California, Georgia, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, and Wisconsin.

Yaz and Yasmin, manufactured by Bayer Corp. (along with the related entities of Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals Inc.; Bayer Pharmaceuticals Corp.; and Bayer HealthCare LLC), are top-selling oral contraceptives that have been in the news lately.  The birth control pills have been touted as being unique due to the use of the progestin drospirenone, which also has diuretic properties.  The Food & Drug Agency has issued several notices to the manufacturer regarding improper advertising, and corrective advertisements are being televised currently in the United States.  A recent British Medical Journal article noted that patients taking birth control pills that included drospirenone faced greater risks of developing blood clotting issues, including pulmonary emboli, deep vein thrombosis, heart attacks, and strokes.  There are also concerns that patients taking Yaz and Yasmin face greater risk of developing gallbladder disease.   As the Yaz and Yasmin litigation progresses, the plaintiffs will be seeking additional information regarding the development, sale and marketing of these drugs, as well as information as to when the German manufacturer knew of the special risks associated with Yaz and Yasmin and its efforts, if any, to communicate that vital safety information to prescribing physicians and patients.

It is anticipated that hundreds, if not thousands, of additional lawsuits will be filed in the coming months on behalf of girls and women who have suffered personal injuries or death as a result of their ingestion of Yaz and Yasmin.  If those cases are filed in the federal system, the claims will be transferred to the Southern District of Illinois court for pre-trial coordination.

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