With so many lawsuits against Bayer over the controversial birth control pills Yaz and Yasmin, sales have lagged. The drug giant has decided to respond by taking the pills to Brazil.
Both Yaz and Yasmin have gotten a bad reputation after it was discovered that the pills caused adverse side effects such as heart attacks, strokes, pulmonary embolisms, gallbladder disease, deep vein thrombosis and blood clots. Many young women and their families have filed thousands of lawsuits as a result of this. The lawsuits claim that Bayer knowingly misled the public and doctors about these side effects by implementing a clever marketing campaign that downplayed the risks, and showcased its off-label uses like curing acne and symptoms of PMS.
The company is hoping to be able to double their profits when the pills move to Brazil. Currently, Yaz and Yasmin rake in approximately $15 billion a year in sales. They are hoping to bring that number up to $27 billion by 2015. Andreas Fibig, the Chairman of Bayer, said in a press conference in Sao Paolo that the company has a strong market position in Brazil, and that once the new drugs Bayer is making hit the market, it should make up the difference in sales losses and settlements for Yaz in the U.S. The company is predicting to put out at least 5 new drugs in the coming months and years in Brazil.
Yaz and Yasmin were issued black box warnings by the FDA after the government warned Bayer in letters in 2003, 2008 and twice in 2009. The FDA accused the company of false advertising, and of unsanitary conditions in one of its manufacturing plants. With all of the bad press the company has received over its birth control medications, Bayer still stubbornly stands behind its popular pills… and now it looks like it may have found a way to recoup some its losses with the move to Brazil.