Product News and Recalls

Risky newer contraceptives spur outcry in France

A public health watchdog group in France is calling for doctors to severely cut back on the amounts of newer birth control pills they prescribe, citing the risk of blood clots.

An account in South African newspaper The Times quotes National Drugs Safety Agency Director General Dominique Maraninchi as saying that older types of birth control pills should be the standard.

Maraninchi says doctors should prescribe the newer pills only “in very specific circumstances” and never as a first option.

A number of high-profile lawsuits in France have generated controversy over the so-called third- and fourth-generation birth control pills such as Bayer’s Yasmin line, which includes Yaz, Beyaz and Ocella.

While all birth control pills can increase the risk of blood clots, a number of studies have linked newer contraceptives with higher rates. Studies indicate the Yasmin line carries up to three times the risk of potentially deadly blood clots compared to other oral contraceptives on the market.

A 25-year-old French woman, Marion Larat, was left badly handicapped by a stroke that she attributes to one of Bayer’s pills.

Larat has taken legal action, and 30 other women between the ages of 17 to 48 are also likely to file lawsuits by the end of January, according to the article.

The story notes that newer contraceptives have generated widespread lawsuits in the United States as well.

Last year, Bayer spent $750 million to settle nearly 3,500 lawsuits over deep-vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism. And an estimated 3,800 more lawsuits remain to be settled, as well as nearly 5,000 additional claims over other types injuries allegedly caused by the pills.

Patients should consult their doctors before making any changes in their medication. A consultation with a Beyaz lawyer is also important if there are significant injuries while on Beyaz or similar birth control pills.