Yaz and Yasmin birth control pills, which contain drospirenone, were introduced
to the market by Bayer in 2006. Following a strong initial marketing campaign,
Yaz and Yasmin both earned top spots among the most popular oral contraceptives
in the US.
However, the trend reversed sharply in 2009 as medical professionals and
patients injured by the drugs’ side effects began raising doubts
concerning the safety of both pills. Many Yaz and Yasmin users suffered
from adverse side effects such as blood clots, strokes, and heart attacks.
Although over 10,000 women filed a class-action lawsuit against Bayer,
neither Bayer nor the US Food and Drug Administration have ever issued a recall.
Among the more
serious injury cases were instances of deep vein thrombosis, or blood clots that form in deep
veins and can dislodge and travel to the heart, lungs, or brain. This
condition can result in heart attacks, pulmonary embolisms, or strokes,
In 2010, the British Medical Journal and FDA published studies concluding
that the hormone drospirenone can increase the risk of blood clots by
as much as 74%. Bayer has since begun settling many more of the 10,000
suits filed and is continuing to compensate patients with certain injuries.
Alleged FDA Corruption
In late 2011, the FDA organized an advisory board to scrutinize the safety
risks of Yaz and Yasmin. A group vote by the board of 15 to 11 determined
that the benefits of the drug still outweighed the risks of side effects.
A recall was not recommended, but it was later discovered that at least
four board members had financial ties to Bayer, which was coincidentally
the exact amount of votes constituting the majority against the recall.
These board members failed to disclose their conflicting interests prior
to the vote.