When Yasmin entered the market in 2001 and Yaz in 2006, it was thought that the two oral contraceptives would lead to safer, more effective birth control. The enthusiasm was grounded in the development of a new synthetic progestin, drospirenone, created to not only prevent pregnancy but to reduce the side effect of earlier contraceptives as well as treat premenstrual dysphoric disorder.
Bayer has aggressively touted the two contraceptives in slick marketing campaigns on television as well as the Internet. The marketing campaigns were so successful in fact they drew the scrutiny of the FDA who warned Bayer that the marketing campaigns oversold the efficacy of the drugs while failing to properly relate the potential serious side effects of the drugs.
Now, Bayer is facing more than 1,000 lawsuits across the country. The lawsuits allege that scientific studies have shown that women, even young, healthy women, are much more susceptible to a six fold greater risk of getting blood clots. The rate of strokes is also a factor in those who take Yaz and/or Yasmin.
The LA Times quotes a leading drug safety advocate concerning the importance of such statistics, “There is reason to be concerned, I believe, about both of them [Yaz and Yasmin],” said Dr. Sidney Wolfe, founder and director of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group, a nonprofit advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C. “When evidence like that comes up, people should pay attention to it.”
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