Product News and Recalls

Bayer may be trying to save money with Yaz settlements

Richard Vosser, a JPMorgan Chase & Co. analyst, predicts that the Bayer corporation may have to pay more than $2.65 billion to resolve all the cases over its Yasmin line of birth control pills, Bloomberg reports.

Vosser made his prediction after the German drug-maker settled 651 cases over allegations that the contraceptives caused blood clots, some of which were fatal. In its Stockholders Newsletter, the company said it paid $142 million in the settlements for an average of about $218,000 a case.

But for all that, the company may ultimately be looking to save money, according to Carl Tobias, who teaches product-liability law at the University of Richmond in Virginia.

Bloomberg quotes Tobias as saying that Bayer may want to avoid the possibility of a large jury award.

“Settlements provide predictability when it comes to the cost of resolving these cases,” Tobias said.

By mid-April, Bayer faced about 11,900 lawsuits over the birth control pills in the U.S., involving about 14,000 plaintiffs. According to Bloomberg, the contraceptives generated $1.58 billion in sales in 2010, making them Bayer’s second-biggest-selling drugs.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently changed the labels on the Bayer birth control pills containing the synthetic hormone drospirenone, which include Yasmin, Yaz, Beyaz and Ocella.

The new labels reflect the numerous studies indicating that pills with drospirenone carry up to three times the risk of blood clots.

Patients should consult their doctors before making any changes in their medication. If they’ve suffered significant injuries, a consultation with a Yaz/Beyaz lawyer is also advisable.

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