The Mass Tort Unit at Searcy Denney filed six new individual lawsuits this week against Bayer Corporation, Berlex, Barr Laboratories, and other pharmaceutical companies involved in the manufacturing and licensing of defective fourth generation birth control pills including Yaz, Yasmin, Gianvi, and Ocella. Here are some details about these young clients of the law firm who were injured after taking these medications, which have been noted to be 200% to 500% more likely to cause blood clots and other injuries over other birth control pills with similar efficacy:
A lawsuit was filed on behalf of a 29 year old Kentucky woman who suffered a Gianvi-induced DVT and bilateral pulmonary emboli in early 2012. These are life threatening conditions, which required hospitalization, extensive testing, and will require the plaintiff to continue risky, long-term medical therapy in order to prevent the recurrence of the blood clots in the future. Suffering such an injury at a young age will also complicate future pregnancies. Gianvi is a prescription birth control pill marketed and distributed by Barr Laboratories and Teva USA. The lawsuit also includes Bayer, the manufacturer of Yaz and Yasmin, as Gianvi is reportedly supplied and licensed to Barr and Teva by Bayer Corporation. Gianvi is essentially a generic version of Yaz, but many consumers have been confused by the use of a “brand name” for the drug rather than a “generic” one (which may stem in part due to the cloud that has hovered over the Yaz and Yasmin brand since the British Medical Journal first questioned the safety of those drugs in August of 2009).
A case was filed on behalf of a 27 year old San Antonio, Texas resident who ingested Yaz, Yasmin, and Ocella, which were prescribed by various physicians at the University of Miami and taken for nearly 8 years. The medications were prescribed for birth control as well as polycystic ovary syndrome, a common hormonal endocrine disorder that can lead to a number of serious illnesses and conditions including heart disease and diabetes. Over time, the patient developed gallbladder disease and had to undergo emergency surgery for removal of her gallbladder. She seeks damages for pain and suffering as well as the costs of the surgery (which exceed $40,000.00), for which the plaintiff was uninsured.
An individual lawsuit was filed on behalf of a student from Akron, Ohio who was hospitalized for biliary dyskinesia and underwent a laparoscopic cholecystectomy for a diseased gallbladder at the age of 18. She had taken Yaz and Yasmin for more than a year prior to her hospitalization. The national Yaz litigation includes an unprecedented number of young women who have suffered damages as a result of gallbladder disease, which is believed to be attributable to the unique progestin utilized in Yaz, Yasmin, Gianvi, and Ocella which has a diuretic effect and may increase the formation of gall stones.
The law firm also filed a new claim for a South Florida clerical worker for damages sustained after being hospitalized with gallbladder disease at the age of 23. She had taken Yaz for quite some time prior to being admitted for the emergency surgery. While gallbladder disease is common in women, it is generally not seen in women until they are in their forties or fifties. The Yaz litigation, however, includes thousands of cases filed on behalf of teenage girls and young women who suffered gallbladder injuries that they attribute to their use of these controversial birth control drugs.
Yaz and Yasmin were also very popular drugs in Canada. Searcy Denney has filed yet another lawsuit this week on behalf of a Canadian resident who suffered injuries after purchasing the drugs from Bayer’s US subsidiary. This particular patient was hospitalized at age 27 with gallbladder disease and was forced to undergo surgery due to cholelithiasis, a condition alleged to be caused by her long-term ingestion of Yaz and Yasmin.
An individual lawsuit was also filed on behalf of a stay-at-home mother of three children from Orlando, Florida who was hospitalized in 2009 due to Yaz-induced gallbladder disease. Her case, along with the others filed this week, were direct-filed into the pending MDL proceedings in East St. Louis, Illinois before Judge David Herndon.
So what can be expected for these plaintiffs and the thousands of other plaintiffs who have been injured by Yaz, Yasmin, Ocella, and Gianvi? While there have been some recent settlements of Yaz and Yasmin claims, nearly 10,000 cases remain unsettled. These claims involve both blood clot-related injuries (such as DVT, pulmonary emboli, heart attack, stroke, and sudden cardiac death) as well as gallbladder injury claims.
The progress of the litigation over the past year has been disappointingly slow, as the state and federal court judges overseeing the litigation granted stays earlier this year in order to encourage settlement talks, which have not moved at an acceptable pace over the past few months and have not been successful in resolving many cases. It is hoped that the judges overseeing the MDL and coordinated state court proceedings in California and Pennsylvania will kick-start the litigation and trial process in early 2013 in hopes of spurring more settlements and permitting trials for deserving plaintiffs with compensable claims who were unable to resolve their cases through settlement negotiations.