Bayer Healthcare has finally made a good decision regarding the lawsuits that were filed against the controversial makers of the oral contraceptive Yaz: The company has reached a settlement agreement with 70 plaintiffs.
This settlement agreement comes as a shock to many, especially since the company has steadfastly maintained the position that its drospirenone-based birth control pills, Yaz and Yasmin, are no more dangerous than other non-drospirenone-based pills — despite a plethora of studies that say otherwise. Even with Bayer settling with 70 plaintiffs, the company still has to deal with the other 11,300 additional claims that have been filed by different women and their families.
In Bayer’s legal risks section of its 2011 Annual Financial Report, the company decided to discuss Yaz lawsuit standings with investors so that Bayer could explain to them that some settlements (at least) had been reached with plaintiffs. So far, the details of this recent settlement haven’t been released, but for its part, Bayer officials did state in the 2011 report that they are thinking of settling each case on an individual basis. That is a step up from the denial the company was maintaining to date.
Yaz and Yasmin have long been linked to various serious side effects, including heart attacks, strokes and blood clots that can lead to pulmonary embolisms and deep vein thrombosis. These side effects have caused various patients and their families to file lawsuits against Bayer amid claims that the company failed to properly warn them of the dangers linked to the pills. Thousands of Yaz lawsuits were filed; many of them have been included in the Bellwether trials that will be presided over by Judge David R. Herndon, who recently ordered the lawyers on both sides to try to reach a settlement negotiation. This move by Herndon pushed back the trial date for the first group of lawsuits from January 2012 to April.