The federal Judge David R. Herndon has ordered the first Yaz birth control bellwether trial indefinitely delayed, and appointed a mediation special master to work with Yaz manufacturer Bayer and the lead plaintiff to attempt to negotiate a settlement for the litigation.
Judge Herndon issued the delay order on December 31, 2011, Professor Stephen Saltzburg of George Washington School of Law was appointed to the position of Special Master, and both parties were ordered to negotiate in good faith.
More than 10,000 lawsuits have been filed against Bayer over the drug maker’s failure to warn consumers and physicians about the dangerous side effects of the oral birth control Yaz, Yasmin, and other drospirenone-based contraceptive pills.
A panel of FDA advisors met in December to evaluate the health risks of Yaz and Yasmin contraceptives, including their generic forms, Ocella, Loryna, Syeda, Zarah, Safyral, and Gianvi, and called for stricter warning labels on the drugs. FDA studies have shown that drospirenone-based birth control pills may increase the risk of blood clots by 75% over older birth control pills, and increased the risks of stroke and heart attack in first time users. Other studies have indicated the pills increase the risk of pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis, and sudden death.
All federally filed Yaz and Yasmin lawsuits have been consolidated as part of a multidistrict litigation, MDL, under Judge Herndon in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois.