Yaz and Yasmin are two types of birth control pills manufactured by Bayer Healthcare. Both contain ethinyl estradiol which has been present in “The Pill” for more than three decades. However, what’s new about these popular forms of oral contraceptive is the presence of progestin in Yasmin and Yaz. It is called drospirenone, a so called fourth-generation synthetic progestin. Unfortunately it results in elevated potassium levels which can cause potentially life-threatening heart problems.
Approved by the FDA in 2006 and 2001, almost immediately the FDA began receiving adverse event reports including deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, and heart arrhythmia or irregular heartbeat.
Public Citizen, the consumer group, has put the two pills on its “Do Not Use” list of drugs.
As the number of complaints over the side effects of these birth control pills continues to increase, four significant lawsuits have been filed in federal court against Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals and there are more to come.
Bayer will run some corrective advertising and has told the FDA it will spend $20 million on the campaign to downplay its former overstatements about the benefits of Yaz while it downplayed the risks.
The birth control pills are still sold and aggressively marketed, exposing young women to serious and potentially life-threatening risks. When you follow the money trail, you understand why.
Yaz and Yasmin account for nearly 18 percent of the birth control market last year. That translated to more than $600 million in sales for Yaz and $1.85 billion in the first quarter of 2009 and $382 million for Yasmin. With other birth control formulations on the market, there is no benefit to using Yasmin and Yaz.
We hear of stories of depression, shortness of breath, trouble sleeping, severe headaches, among other symptoms. And those are the lucky ones. A young woman reportedly died in Switzerland from a pulmonary embolism while taking Yaz.
Patients usually think they are the only one suffering, until they begin to share stories.
As doctors begin to understand more about the potential risks, they are warning their patients. Bayer knew about the adverse events for some time and the lawsuits charge that they failed to warn consumers and their doctors.
Expect the FDA warning letter to Bayer about its deceptive and misleading marketing campaign to be used in litigation.
Source reports: http://www.jerebeasleyreport.com/2009/08/bayer-sued-over-safety-of-popular-birth-control-pills/; http://www.aboutlawsuits.com/yaz-yasmin-5048/;