In response to all of the reported dangers linked to Yaz and Yasmin use, the National Drugs and Safety Agency (ANSM) in France is recommending that doctors only use Yaz as a last resort. In doing this, the agency is hoping to avoid patients suffering from the blood clots that have long been linked to the controversial birth control pills.
What the ANSM is saying is that doctors should only prescribe Yaz if the older generation pills don’t work. Yaz, Yasmin and generic versions of the pills are fourth-generation oral contraceptives that contain drospirenone, which is a synthetic progestin. Drospirenone has been linked to potentially life-threatening conditions such as kidney stones, gallbladder disease, heart attacks, strokes, pulmonary embolisms and deep vein thrombosis.
In early 2013, the ANSM launched an inquiry into the pills and decided that the agency will no longer reimburse the prescription costs for Yaz after March 31, 2013. The agency is citing the pills’ dangerous side effects as the cause for this decision. ANSM officials went so far as to state that they may even recall the pills if doctors don’t stop prescribing them in such large quantities.
This announcement comes as Bayer, the makers of Yaz, struggles to overcome 12,000-plus lawsuits filed against the company over Yaz dangers. That number was much higher before Bayer started reaching settlement agreements with more than 3,400 cases to the tune of $750 million. The company is still negotiating settlements that may well reach more than $2 billion in total. The lawsuits stem from plaintiff claims that the company purposely hid the dangers of Yaz use from the public and healthcare professionals for the sake of sales. They are also accused of promoting the pills’ off-label uses while downplaying the side effects in their earlier marketing campaigns. While the FDA ordered Bayer to change its marketing strategy, the damage was already done, and there looks to be no end in sight for new lawsuit filings.