Mass tort cases that had been filed in New Jersey and Pennsylvania concerning Bayer’s birth control pill have been settled for $110 million. As a part of this products liability suit Bayer agreed to pay each claimant $220,000 each due to the drug causing severe and potentially fatal blood clots among those that used the medication, and as of yet there have been approximately 11,300 claims made against the company due injuries caused by taking the drug.
It was claimed that the blood clots caused by taking of the birth control pills led to pulmonary embolisms, strokes and heart attacks. Attorneys involved in the lawsuit assert that the birth control pills have been tied to as many as 50 deaths in a four year period.
The FDA has estimated that women taking the medication were 74 percent more likely to suffer blood clots than those taking other types of birth control medications. However, even with such sanctions many consumer organizations have criticized the FDA for not taking swifter action or issuing stronger warnings about the birth control pills’ dangers.
Sadly, consumers cannot rely on government organizations alone to make sure that products they consume are safe. Lawsuits such as the one mentioned above often have a more immediate effect as such lawsuits generally cost such companies profits and bring along with them adverse publicity.
It appears that there will be more lawsuits to come. Often defective drugs are marketed without adequate testing and by the time the product has been recalled many people have been injured.
Source: Drug Watch, “Bayer Settles 500 Yaz Lawsuits for $110 Million,” by Barb Stephens, April 18, 2012