An Illinois federal judge has set a June trial date for a lawsuit in a multidistrict litigation involving stroke risks with Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals’ birth control pill Yaz, saying Bayer’s feet-dragging strategy in the litigation over the past six years appeared to be an attempt to shrink the number of lawsuits in the MDL through attrition.
U.S. District Judge David R. Herndon said the drug company’s strategy in the Yaz personal injury lawsuit amounted to “wearing everyone down over time,” and to expedite the process, selected plaintiff Pamel Schuchert’s case to be tried.
Schuchert, who joined the litigation in 2010, claimed she suffered a stroke after taking Yaz. Her lawsuit alleges that Bayer should have known that the drospirenone, one of the hormones in Yaz, can cause serious health problems including heart problems, blood clots and strokes.
The Yaz MDL against Bayer began in 2009 and at one time contained about 12,000 lawsuits – more than any other MDL at the time. The size of the MDL has been reduced in recent years.
In March 2013, Bayer agreed to pay $24 million to settle lawsuits involving claims that Yaz, and a similar birth control pill Yasmin, caused gallbladder disease. Plaintiffs who had surgery to remove their gallbladders were paid up to $3,000, and those who had symptoms of the disease but did not undergo surgery were paid up to $2,000 each.
That settlement, however, did not resolve any of the blood clot claims involving Yaz and Yasmin.
Schuchert’s trial is scheduled to begin on June 15.
Source: Law 360