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Bayer Defends YAZ Lawsuits, Saying “We Warned About The Risks”

Yaz-logo-02-09-10.jpgA new article on YAZ and Yasmin lawsuits in the IndyStar sheds a little light on manufacturer Bayer’s defense to the cases:

“But the complaints we have reviewed so far pertain to side effects that are warned about in the labeling of all oral contraceptives, including ours,” according to a statement from company spokeswoman Rose Talarie. “Bayer’s oral contraceptives are safe and effective when used according to product labeling. Health-care professionals prescribe oral contraceptives following a comprehensive evaluation of the risks and benefits for the individual woman.”

Bayer’s statement ignores two things:

  1. It ignores the evidence that Yaz and Yasmin are more dangerous than other comparable birth control pills. That is a woman’s risk of encountering “side effects” (read: blood clots, deep vein thrombosis, stroke, gallbladder disease/removal, pulmonary embolism, pancreatitis, and heart attack). So, it is irrelevant that the risks were warned about—the point is that YAZ and Yasmin have a much higher rate of risks.
  2. Overlooking the fact that Bayer knows women often control their own prescriptions (or else, why would they spend so much money on Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) Advertising) it presumes that health-care providers, when writing prescriptions for YAZ and Yasmin, knew that Bayer’s products were more dangerous, but prescribed them anyway for other reasons. The problem is, Bayer wasn’t warning doctors about the relative risks (YAZ and Yasmin versus other comparable products).

Bayer is trying to steer the conversation to one they can control and win. No one disputes that all birth control pills carry risks. It’s just that women taking YAZ and Yasmin have an increased chance of risk exposure.