Yaz Lawsuit : Can You Get Compensated?
Yaz is a widely prescribed oral contraceptive drug that is also used in the treatment of premenstrual dysphoric disorder and moderate acne. This birth control pill has been linked to a number of serious side effects including an increased risk of blood clots which can cause pulmonary embolism, heart attacks and sudden death. There is an MDL Yaz lawsuit pending in the U.S. federal district courts.
Yaz is also marketed under the brand names Yasmin and Ocella and is a combination oral contraceptive. Combination contraceptives contain both synthetic estrogen and synthetic progesterone, female hormones associated with reproduction and fertility. One of the active ingredients in Yaz, drospirenone, a synthetic progesterone, which is a focus of the MDL lawsuit since it is unique to Yaz, Yasmin and Ocella. It is believed that drospirenone may play a major role in the increased risk of Yaz side effects over other birth control pill varieties.
Medical Uses for Yaz
In addition to use as an oral contraceptive, Yaz is approved for the treatment of premenstrual dysphoric disorder and moderate acne. Off label uses include treatment of heavy menstrual bleeding, painful menstruation and irregular periods. Symptoms of premenstrual dysphoric disorder include extreme irritability, depression and tension for 3 to 6 days before menstruation. Plaintiffs’ attorneys in the lawsuit allege that Bayer specifically targeted acne sufferers and women with PMDD without warning them of the increased risks of blood clots.
Yaz Side Effects
The most reported side effect of Yaz is deep vein thrombosis (blood clots) which can lead to complications of pulmonary embolism (blood clots in the lungs), heart attack and stroke. Another commonly reported side effect is gallbladder disease. The MDL lawsuit alleges that the risk of blood clots from Yaz is significantly higher than the risk posed by other oral contraceptives. Smoking tobacco increases the risk of blood clots from all types of oral contraceptive including Yaz, and compensation for Yaz side effects may be mitigated for women who smoke.
Yaz May Elevate Potassium Levels
In addition to blood clots and gall bladder disease, Yaz is believed to be responsible for cardiac arrhythmias in users. An arrhythmia is a disruption of the heart’s natural rhythm that can result in heart attack. Drospirenone has been associated with elevated potassium levels in the blood and elevated potassium levels can cause blood clots but also cardiac arrhythmias. Although deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism are the primary focus of the Yaz lawsuit in the federal courts, there are also individual cases related to cardiac arrhythmia and sudden death.
Cervical Dysplasia and Yaz
Clinical studies conducted on the use of Yaz for pregnancy prevention and the treatment of premenstrual dysphoric disorder indicated a possible link between Yaz and an increased risk for cervical dysplasia. Cervical dysplasia is a pre-cancerous condition characterized by the presence of abnormal cells and is diagnosed with a PAP smear. At this time, no suit dealing with side effects of cervical dysplasia or cancer has been filed because the studies were too small to have statistical significance.
Black Box Warning
The most serious step that the FDA can take, other than removing a drug from the market, is the black box warning. The FDA ordered the makers of Yaz, Bayer Pharmaceuticals, to include a black box warning on the Yaz package about the increased cardiovascular risks of using Yaz while smoking tobacco. Although smokers face a greater risk of Yaz side effects, non-smokers also have an increased risk of blood clots during the first 6 months of using Yaz. The FDA action bolstered the plaintiffs’ allegations in the MDL Lawsuit.
Filing a Yaz Lawsuit for Compensation
The MDL litigation deals primarily with deep vein thrombosis (blood clots) and complications of DVT like pulmonary embolism and heart attack. Individuals who have suffered from other side effects like cardiac arrhythmia also have a cause of action for a lawsuit. Anyone who has suffered a serious injury as a result of using Yaz, Yasmin or Ocella should consult a lawyer that specializes in products liability to find out if they are eligible for compensation of their medical bills and other expenses.
Allegations That Makers of Yaz Deliberately Obfuscated Risks
Allegations of plaintiffs in the MDL lawsuit pending in U.S. courts include claims of misleading marketing techniques and deliberate downplaying of the serious risks associated with the drug. The information on side effects was buried in the patient package insert under warnings and precautions and no specific warnings were on the drug’s packaging. Plaintiffs in the lawsuit allege that the warnings failed to cite the increased risks posed by drospirenone which is used exclusively in Yaz, Yasmin and Ocella.
Compensation for Yaz Side Effects
Users of Yaz who suffered serious side effects from the drug may be entitled to legal compensation for medical expenses related to the side effects and pain and suffering. If a loved one died as a result of the side effects, family members, including minor children, may also be eligible for compensation for their loss. Individuals who feel they have grounds for compensation should consult a lawyer with experience in handling products liability claims. The time for filing a suit is limited by law, so it is vital to act as quickly as possible.
Bellwether Lawsuit Ordered into Mediation
The first lawsuit, scheduled for trial in January 2012, was delayed by the MDL judge,Judge Herndon, and the parties were ordered into mediation. Considered the bellwether lawsuit, the case involves a woman who suffered a pulmonary embolism while taking Yaz. A bellwether lawsuit is intended as an indicator for future litigation in similar trials against the same defendant(s). There are currently more than 11,500 such lawsuits pending in U.S. federal district courts.
Yaz, Yasmin and Ocella Multijurisdiction Litigation
Multijurisdiction litigation (MDL) is a method used to streamline legal proceedings when there are multiple similar federal lawsuits against the same defendant(s). An MDL judge does not preside over the individual lawsuit trials, but handles all pre-trial motions and discovery proceedings in order to avoid duplication between cases and move cases through the courts more quickly. Yaz, Yasmin and Ocella lawsuits have been consolidated as an MDL in the Southern District of Illinois overseen by Judge David R. Herndon.
If you or a loved one suffered a serious side effect or died while using Yaz, you can get a free compensation evaluation of your case by completing the short questionnaire that you will find on this website. An experienced legal professional will contact you and assist you in finding a qualified lawyer to assist you in pursuing a Yaz lawsuit.
by Elizabeth Warren