Pharmaceutical

Injured by Yaz, SC nurse files lawsuit against Bayer

A 33-year-old nurse from South Carolina has filed suit against Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals, charging that Yaz caused her multiple personal injuries. According to a report published by Reuters, the woman received a Yaz prescription from her dermatologist in March 2008 as a treatment for acne.

The plaintiff claims that at the time, she was not aware the FDA had not approved Yaz for the treatment of skin conditions. In an extensive and aggressive marketing campaign, Bayer touted its birth control drug as an effective treatment for acne and symptoms associated with Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) – conditions for which the FDA never tested or approved Yaz.

In October 2008, FDA officials warned Bayer that its Yaz ads intentionally mislead and confused viewers by overstating the drug’s effectiveness, overselling its benefits, and not adequately communicating the drug’s potential for serious side effects, including blood clots, cardiac arrest, and gallbladder disease. According to the FDA, the commercials used distracting visuals, multiple scene changes, and background music that effectively interfered with the audio presentation about the serious risks associated with the drug.

“Bayer promoted Yaz with the slogan ‘the difference a little chemistry can make,'” the plaintiff said. “What Bayer did not disclose was how negative that difference can be. Yaz gave me life-threatening injuries that have forever altered my life.”

After several months of Yaz therapy, the plaintiff developed an acute pain in her left shoulder and had difficulty breathing. A visit to the doctor revealed the plaintiff had developed blood clots in both her lungs. She was hospitalized immediately and treated successfully, but just one month later she developed gallstones and had to undergo surgery for their removal.

The plaintiff alleges that she “suffered months of anxiety and nausea related to (the) medical procedures and drugs given to treat the adverse side effects (she) developed from taking Yaz.”

The complaint charges that had Bayer properly warned patients about the dangers of using Yaz strictly as an acne treatment, the plaintiff could have avoided serious injury.

The lawsuit was filed in the Superior Court of New Jersey, where Bayer’s American operations are based. The plaintiff seeks an unspecified amount of compensatory damages.