Bayer Corp. says it will pay about $57 million to resolve about 1,200 federal and state lawsuits claiming its birth control pills Yaz, Yasmin and Ocella caused blood clots that led to heart attacks and strokes.
The agreement would resolve lawsuits pending in a multidistrict litigation (MDL) in Illinois federal court as well as claims filed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and California.
Bayer has already paid about $2 billion to settle lawsuits alleging its contraceptives caused blood clots resulting in pulmonary embolisms and deep vein thrombosis. The latest settlement involves claims of more serious Yaz side effects from blood clots, including heart attacks and strokes.
Yaz is a combination of the hormones drospirenone and ethinyl estradiol. It was first approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2006 as a contraceptive. The agency later approved the drug to treat premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) and acne.
Not long after the drug hit the market, the drug was linked to an increasing number of blood clots often resulting in serious injuries. Bayer has faced tens of thousands of lawsuits, many of which were consolidated into the multidistrict litigation.
The latest settlement agreement comes just before the first bellwether case was expected to go to trial in Philadelphia. In that lawsuit, Anna Tolentino alleged she suffered a blood clot and stroke in 2009 after taking Yasmin.
In 2013, Bayer agreed to pay $24 million to women who claimed Yaz and Yasmin caused them to develop gallbladder disease or have to undergo surgery to have their gallbladders removed.