After several years of litigation, Bayer has finally decided to pay the damages its blockbuster birth control pill Yasmin has caused. This month we settled our first Yaz case! This birth control pill goes by a number of names, including Beyaz, Yasmin, Yaz and Ocella.
Young women are suing Bayer over gallbladder problems caused as a result of taking the birth control pill Yaz. Bayer took a “NO PAY” position for a long time on the entire family of these oral contraceptives but changed that position on March 15, 2013. Overnight, Bayer did a 180-degree turn around and set aside $24 million for Yaz-related settlements.
Why has Bayer finally decided to admit they were wrong and pay for damages caused by Yaz? Was it good faith on Bayer’s part? Were they sorry that this medication caused so many injuries? Were they overcome by the guilt they felt by hurting so many young women? What made Bayer reach this decision? We can only speculate.
Bayer was facing literally thousands of filed lawsuits. That avalanche of litigation would have been disastrous after the medical science proved causation. We plaintiff lawyers were confident the medicine was on our side. Many of these cases have an injury which is like a time bomb in the victim just waiting to go off. A March 20, 2013 Reuter’s article estimated that there are more than 8,000 claims.
What must a person do to file suit for a case like this?
In order for the plaintiffs to prove that Yaz caused their injuries, they must show that the reason for their gallbladder problems were not caused by the normal factors for gallbladder disorders (generally called “general causation”), like obesity, age-related degeneration, genetic disorders, pancreatitis, alcohol abuse and even being a white female over 40 years old. So you can see there are many reasons a gallbladder can go bad.
How do you prove your gallbladder problem was caused by Yaz?
Commonly called “specific causation,” scientific evidence and proof is needed in to affirm that Yaz caused the gallbladder injury to a reasonable degree of medical certainty. This can be done statistically and using the risk factors in conjunction with the plaintiff’s individual circumstances.
Once you have given proof, how do you settle with such a large corporation?
1. Time was a big factor in this settlement offer.
2. Defense costs are always a factor as well. The need to try and stem further litigation on forthcoming plaintiffs. The Bayer settlement pool deal forced lawyers to jump through too many hoops without sufficient return on the case for their clients.
In the end, most of us decided to not participate in the settlement pool and instead just force the individual cases to trial. Fortunately, that is working. Bayer is now trying to settle those cases for reasonable values. We hope this most recent case will be the first of many satisfying days for all the young women who have been harmed by Bayer’s bonanza birth control pill.