The Yaz/Yasmin MDL lawsuit picture became a bit clearer as the MDL judge set forth a plan for the bellwether trials. The first trial will be a pulmonary embolism case on September 12, 2011. Over plaintiffs’ lawyers’ objections, the second trial will be a gallbladder case on January 9, 2012. The third bellwether trial will be a thromboembolic (VTE) case on April 2, 2012. The court also lays out the scheduling order in these cases.
The purpose of these bellwether trials is to get an assessment of what the values of these three types of Yaz/Yasmin cases will be in hopes of bringing about a global Yaz/Yasmin settlement. How much is a Yaz/Yasmin case worth? Anyone who thinks they know for sure is kidding themselves. But you can be pretty confident Bayer will continue to dig in until either verdicts start coming back against them or Yaz/Yasmin’s market share continues to plummet; because it is hard for any drug company to lay off the gas defending lawsuits where the drug remains profitable and on the market. Bayer has set aside almost $70 million to pay for “anticipated defense costs” to defend the Yaz and Yasmin lawsuits which means, at least in the short term, Bayer is hunkering down for a fight.
The court’s order setting forth the MDL trial schedule contains some interesting analysis on the MDL judge’s thinking on what cases should be included in the bellwether trials.