On March 12 of this year, the St. Catherine’s Standard published a story that focused on 32-year-old Ann Schwoob’s Yaz lawsuit, which she filed with one other woman. What makes this story interesting is that Schwoob has filed to make this suit a class action after she experienced a terrifying pulmonary embolism.
Schwoob has been taking blood thinners ever since she was diagnosed with a blood clot in her lungs after being prescribed Yaz last summer. She took the pills for two months before she started to experience a tightening in her chest that she said felt like fractured ribs. The hospital at St. Catherine’s originally thought Schwoob was suffering from a bout of pneumonia. However, when her symptoms didn’t subside with treatment, she went to a walk-in clinic that told her to get checked out in Hamilton. It was there that she was told she had suffered a pulmonary embolism.
When Schwoob talked to an interviewer at the Standard, she stated that she never would have taken the Yaz if she knew about the dangers.
“I’ve since found out that Yasmin has a higher risk of blood clotting than your average birth control pill, which isn’t part of their commercial or isn’t an extra warning or anything like that,” she notes. “If there had been, obviously I wouldn’t have taken it.”
She and a Halifax woman are seeking $20 million in punitive damages and $500,000 each for special and pecuniary damages. Her lawsuit alleges that Bayer aggressively marketed Yaz without offering full disclosure of the risks to the public.
The spokesperson for Bayer in Toronto, Dr. Shurjeel Choudhri, responded to questions from the Standard by pointing out studies conducted in 2007 that showed no higher risk from patients taking Yaz than any other birth control pill. Choudhri also explained away the plaintiff’s British study example as “reflective in nature.”
“When you look at the data in a retrospective way, you get a misleading result,” Choudhri adds. “It looks like there is a higher risk, when in fact there isn’t.”