1. Current landscape of Yaz lawsuits

There are more than 13,000 individual lawsuits pending in state and federal courts at this time. The cases have been filed by women and girls who suffered blood clot-related injuries (heart attack, stroke, DVT, pulmonary emboli, or sudden cardiac death) or gallbladder injuries. Settlement negotiations have been ongoing for the past 9 months and approximately 2,000 cases have been settled so far. The settlements have been limited to blood clot-related injuries, mostly DVT and pulmonary emboli. The first trials in the multi-district litigation were scheduled to occur in early 2012, but those cases were settled and additional trial settings were postponed due to the settlement negotiations. The national coordinated litigation includes claims against Bayer, Berlex, Teva, and Barr for the brand name drugs Yaz, Yasmin, and Beyaz as well as various generic formulations (Ocella, Gianvi, and Safyral).

2. Is it possible for a victim to not realize their conditions and medical injuries were caused by the medication?

When a woman suffers a DVT or pulmonary emboli, it is very common for her physicians to discontinue any hormonal drugs, including oral contraceptives. The first published medical reports regarding the link between ingestion of Yaz, Yasmin, and other drospirenone-containing birth control pills was in August of 2009 in the British Medical Journal. Many physicians in the United States were unaware of these first studies that indicated up to a 2 to five-fold increased risk of blood clot injuries. We have reason to believe that physicians in the US were also reassured in 2009 through 2011 by the manufacturer and its sales force that reports of an increased incidence of blood clot-related injuries associated with Yaz and Yasmin over other birth control pills were exaggerated, false, or litigation-driven. In May of 2011, the FDA issued a safety alert which hopefully helped to educate more physicians and consumers about the special risks associated with the unique progestin used in Yaz, Yasmin, Ocella, and other generic formulations. Even today, we are finding that plaintiffs have not received adequate information about the special risks associated with use of Yaz and Yasmin, and that they are under the belief that the fact that the FDA permitted the drug to remain on the market must mean that the safety issues have been resolved (which is definitely not the case).

3. Which of these claims are most common in Yaz lawsuit? -negligence -strict product liability-breach of express and/or implied product warranties -fraudulent and/or negligent misrepresentation -fraudulent concealment-medical monitoring -fraud and deceit

Virtually all of the cases filed include claims for strict liability, fraud, negligence, and negligent misrepresentation. Breach of implied and express warranty claims are also asserted, although less frequently, along with violation of certain state consumer fraud acts. The cases that I have filed on behalf of my Yaz and Yasmin clients from Florida also include a failure to provide a post-sale warning to consumers, which is a legal duty not recognized in all states.

4. How often are doctors themselves also included in a Yaz lawsuit?

I am unaware of any cases that have been filed on behalf of plaintiffs who suffered personal injuries or a wrongful death due to Yaz or Yasmin that included a doctor as a defendant. One of the core pieces of the liability story is that doctors were misled as to the unique dangers associated with Yaz and Yasmin and were being told that the drugs carried the same blood clot risks as other birth control products (which is not true based upon the published medical literature).

5. What example(s) of injuries fall into the category of injuries which may have been caused by Yaz or Ocella but which do not qualify for most law firms taking the case?

In litigating cases against a drug manufacturer, we need to ensure that there is an adequate scientific basis for such claims in order to be able to meet our evidentiary burden in the courts. As such, most Yaz lawsuits have been limited to conditions that have been noted in the medical literature to be related to ingestion of the drugs: deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary emboli, sudden cardiac death, myocardial infarction, stroke, and gallbladder injuries.

This article was provided thanks to the expertise of Brenda S. Fulmer, Esq.
2139 Palm Beach Lakes Blvd.
West Palm Beach, Florida 33409

Brenda Fulmer has been involved in the Yaz litigation for nearly three years. Fulmer also serves on the Discovery Committee for the MDL proceedings pending before Judge Herndon in East St. Louis, Illinois. She represents approximately 150 clients who have suffered various injuries relating to their ingestion of these drugs.

Brenda Fulmer may be reached here: Brenda S. Fulmer - Products Liability - Lawyers & Attorneys