On July 24, Plaintiffs in 23 federal Yasmin/Yaz birth control lawsuits filed a motion with the Judicial Panel on Multi-district Litigation (JPML) requesting consolidation and/or coordination of at least 32 federal Yasmin/Yaz lawsuits. The motion papers request that all cases be moved to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, before Judge James Carr. Judge Carr is currently overseeing many of the individually filed lawsuits.
Defendants in the lawsuits include Bayer Corporation, Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Bayer Healthcare, LLC, and Berlex Laboratories International, Inc.
The motion papers seek consolidation on behalf of Yasmin/Yaz consumers who have suffered deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, seizures, gall bladder injuries, or death. The range of injuries may make coordination difficult; however, the Yaz MDL has a good shot at being approved because most of the injuries are related to issues of blood flow and clotting. So, there is one manufacturing company (the Bayer entities), and only two products. My guess is that the MDL will eventually be approved. However, it will be interesting to see what Bayer’s response is.
Sometimes, drug companies realize the cost savings of litigating cases as a group (so they don’t have to pay individual attorneys across the country for extensive work). Other times, they pursue a “divide and conquer” strategy, because coordination gives plaintiffs’ attorneys a good structure within which to jointly work on the cases.
We’ll let you know when the JPML sets a hearing date.
UPDATE: October 1, 2009: The MDL has been approved.