Bayer's Birth-Control Problem Is Exploding: 1,100 Lawsuits Allege Yaz Causes Blood Clots

Last Updated Mar 1, 2010 6:17 PM EST

About 1,100 lawsuits have been filed against Bayer (BAY.DE) alleging its top-selling Yaz birth control pill causes potentially fatal blood clots, the company disclosed in its 2009 annual report.

While it was well-known that the brand was attracting litigation -- at least 129 suits were reported filed against it in November 2009 -- the disclosure indicates that Bayer's Yaz problem is far larger than previously anticipated. Many of the cases have been consolidated into federal multi-district litigation in the Southern District in Illinois.

The disclosure does not say how many women have died after taking Yaz. Last July, the count was as high as 50. This law firm believes it is as high as 59. Bayer said:

Bayer has also been served with three putative consumer class actions claiming economic loss, one of them also claiming personal injuries. All cases pending in U.S. federal courts have been consolidated in a multi-district litigation (MDL) proceeding for common pre-trial management.
In addition, two Canadian class actions have been served upon Bayer. Additional lawsuits are anticipated.
The cases allege that Yaz can cause a rise in blood potassium which in turns slows the heart rate, allowing clots to form in the bloodstream. Bayer said it intends to fight the cases:
Bayer believes that it has meritorious defenses and intends to defend itself vigorously.
The suits appear to have had no effect on Bayer's business. The drug sold €1.3 billion last year, up 4.6 percent. It is Bayer's biggest franchise.

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