Bayer loses case to silence media reporting dangers of Yaz, Yasmin
Bayer is trying to silence the critics of its blockbuster birth control pills Yaz and Yasmin by taking nay-sayers to court. But even in Europe where the laws don’t always guarantee free speech, Bayer is hardly getting a sympathetic ear.
A Swiss appeals court has recently rejected Bayer’s request to punish a Swiss television station that reported there were about 190 deaths associated with Yaz and Yasmin in the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) database of adverse reactions. The database includes both confirmed and unconfirmed drug reports, and Bayer argued that it was not a true indicator of how dangerous the drug really is.
Yet, thousands of lawsuits levied against Bayer by women and their family members injured or killed after using the pills speak otherwise.
All birth control pills carry a risk for blood clots, but lawsuits contend that Yaz and Yasmin, both of which contain the hormones ethinyl estradiol and drospirenone, put women at even greater risk for blood clots. The disorder can lead to heart attacks, strokes and sudden death. Some lawsuits allege that Yaz and Yasmin also can damage the gallbladder, requiring surgery. Bayer faces more than 2,000 lawsuits over injuries and deaths caused by Yaz and Yasmin.
Bayer remains unwavering in its defense of its popular oral contraceptives. While the pharmaceutical company can’t fight the claims made in the U.S., it recently took on Swiss TV, alleging that the station’s report on deaths associated with the pills were “manipulative” and by reporting the story the station breached its “statutory requirement of factual accuracy.” Bayer first lost a ruling in lower court and earlier this month lost an appeal to a Swiss federal court on the basis that while the news story contained critical viewpoints, those views were correctly identified as such.
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