Yaz and Yasmin added roughly $1.8 billion to Bayer’s profits in 2008, and continue to be among the top selling birth control drugs in the country for women 35 and younger. Successfully marketed as “quality-of-life treatment” to combat acne and severe premenstrual depression, these drugs also carry serious health problem baggage along with their popularity.
Research has shown Yaz and Yasmin put women at higher risk for blood clots, strokes and other health problems than competing birth-control pills. In April 2012, safety studies prompted the Food and Drug Administration to order that Yaz and Yasmin carry revised labels with stronger warnings that indicate the increased risk.
Normal Risks vs. Yaz Risks
All birth control pills have always come with risks which include nausea, weight gain and depression. In addition, most birth control pills will cause blood clots in roughly two to four out of every 10,000 patients. However, studies on Yaz and Yasmin have suggested the risk is two to three times greater than that, which is unacceptable from a moral or legal standpoint.
Increased risk can’t be ignored, especially when the risk is as potentially life changing as blood clots, which can cause heart attacks and strokes which can be fatal.
As a direct result of the increased risk, more than 11,000 lawsuits have been filed against Bayer as of Feb. 2012. Women (or their survivors) in these suits allege they have suffered personal injuries – some of them fatal – from the use of contraceptives in the Yaz line. The total includes two generic versions, according to the annual report of Bayer, which has so far reached settlements with about 70 women.
Much of this story comes from the Toledo Blade: The Perils of Taking the Pill