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Under the terms of a settlement reached on March 20, 2013, Bayer AG will pay up to $24 million to women who claimed to have suffered gallbladder injuries from use of the dangerous drugs Yasmin and Yaz.

Bayer has agreed to pay $2,000 to claimants who suffered injuries to their gallbladder and $3,000 to women who had gallbladders removed. Depending on the number of women who file claims, individual settlement amounts may be decreased. If less than 90 percent of the eligible claimants decide against participating in the settlement, Bayer has the right to withdraw from the settlement. Currently, gallbladder injury claims are consolidated in the federal district court for the Southern District of Illinois. Additional lawsuits are pending in state courts in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and California. Approximately 8,000 suits are pending for gallbladder injuries.

The purpose of the gallbladder is to digest fat. It is, therefore, not essential for life and most people can live without a gallbladder. Bayer continues to deny that its Yaz and Yasmin contraceptives increased the risk of damage to the gallbladder. A Bayer spokesperson stated, “Nevertheless the company has agreed to this settlement, without admission of liability, in order to avoid protracted and expensive litigation and to resolve the vast majority of pending gallbladder claims.” The spokesperson went on to say that the costs involving in defending the lawsuits would probably be greater than $24 million.

More signifcantly, Bayer is also facing 10,000 lawsuits filed by women who have suffered heart attacks, strokes, and other blood clot injuries. These lawsuits allege that Bayer knew or should have known about the risks associated with Yaz and Yasmin and that the company did not warn consumers of the risks.

According to Bayer’s annual report, the company has agreed to pay $1 billion to settle 4,800 claims in which users of the dangerous drugs suffered blood clots that caused heart attacks, strokes and pulmonary embolisms.

In April 2012, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration ordered labeling changes on contraceptives, including Yaz and Yasmin. The labeling changes strengthened warnings regarding blood clots.

For more information, contact the Ohio Yaz lawyers at Clark, Perdue & List.

Source: Thompson Reuters News, “Bayer agrees to settle Yasmin, Yaz gallbladder lawsuits,” Terry Baynes, March 20, 2013.