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Bayer to pay minimum of $110m to settle birth control lawsuits

German pharma company resolves 500 claims that Yasmin and Yaz contraceptive products caused blood clots

Bayer will face a minimum settlement charge of $110m to resolve 500 lawsuits over the safety of its Yaz family of birth control drugs.

As reported by Bloomberg, the Germany-based pharma company has agreed to pay an average of $220,000 per case to settle claims its Yasmin and Yaz contraceptive products led to blood clots.

Bloomberg's sources have requested to remain anonymous.

Bayer had been accused of misleading the public about the health risks of its products, with safety reviews suggesting that drospirenone-containing birth control pills, such as Yasmin and Yaz, may be more likely to cause venous thromboembolism (VTE), potentially leading to incidents of stroke and heart attack.

This led to the US Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) decision to revise the labels of drospirenone products to warn of the increased risk.

“Bayer HealthCare confirms that some cases pending in the current YAZ/Yasmin litigation in the US are being settled,” said Rosemarie Yancosek, a spokesperson for Bayer.

Bayer is currently facing more than 11,000 lawsuits in the US alleging injury caused by use of Yaz or Yasmin oral contraceptives or authorised generic equivalents.

If the remaining 10,500+ lawsuits match the average £220,000 figure for each of the first 500 cases, Bayer would have to pay out well over $2bn.

This would be more than double Johnson and Johnson's (J&J) $1.1bn fine in Arkansas after the healthcare giant was found to have misled and hid risks of its antipsychotic Risperdal (risperidone) in its marketing.

The Yaz family of products is one of Bayer's biggest sellers, making revenues of $1.1bn during 2011, although this was down on 2010's figures.

16th April 2012

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