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Yaz Lawsuits Move Toward Mediation Settlement Possibility

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Yaz and Yasmin Lawsuits Move Toward Settlement With MediationUnited States District Court Judge David R. Herndon moved parties in Yaz, Yasmin and Ocella lawsuits toward settlement through court-ordered mediation in an order entered New Year's Eve – just 9 days before the first Yaz bellwether trial was scheduled to begin. Attorneys for Bayer – the pharmaceutical giant who manufactures Yaz, Yasmin, and Ocella – requested the Court delay the trial and order mediation.

This ruling is just the latest in a bevy of activity in the Yaz litigation over the past several months.

[Read Case Management Order No. 53 ordering mediation here]

The Court previously ordered a bellwether trail selection plan and set the first trial to being on January 9, 2012.

The plaintiff's trial readiness and quality of expert medical and economic testimony likely contributed to Bayer's request to delay the initial trial in favor of settlement through mediation. In the weeks leading up to the stay, Yaz plaintiffs prevailed on a number of crucial pre-trial evidentiary rulings.

Case Management Order No. 52 [read here]

CMC 52 denied Bayer's motion to exclude the testimony of economist Robert W. Johnson, who will offer testimony at trial regarding Bayer's economic condition and ability to pay punitive damages.

Case Management Order No. 51 [read here]

CMC 51 denied Bayer's motion to exclude the testimony of Dr. Gabrielle Bercy-Roberson, MD and Dr. Anthony Discuillo, MD. These highly trained and highly skilled OB/GYN physicians were retained to offer expert medical opinions on behalf of Yaz litigants.

Dr. Bercy-Roberson is a board certified OB/GYN with degrees from the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry and Harvard University School of Public Health. Dr. Discuillo is a board certified OB/GYN with degrees from Boston College and the New York Medical College.

The Court, after reviewing the record evidence, determined that Yaz "plaintiffs have carried their burden of demonstrating that both of the challenged [physicians] possess the requisite qualifications to testify…." Significantly, the court also found that the opinions of these physicians will assist the jury in its analysis of the issues and evidence.

Case Management Order No. 50 [read here]

CMC 50 denied Bayer's motion to exclude a number of Yaz plaintiffs' expert witnesses. After careful review, the Court concluded that Yaz "plaintiffs have carried their burden of demonstrating that each of their challenged experts has the requisite qualifications to testify as to his respective opinion regarding the interpretation of clinical trials and/or the analysis and interpretation of data."

Case Management Order No. 49 [read here]

Bayer moved to exclude the testimony of 16 of plaintiffs' expert witnesses. CMC 49 resolved the motion as to four of these witness. Bayer's motion was denied and the testimony of these witnesses at trial is permitted. The Court found that the opinions and testimony of these physicians, "as grounded in credible articles, studies, reports, internal Bayer documents, and personal experience are based on a reliable methodology."

Case Management Order No. 48 [read here]

CMC No. 48 denied Bayer's motion to exclude the testimony of Dr. David Green, MD, PhD regarding the increased risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) from Yaz, Yasmin, and Ocella.

Case Management Order No. 47 [read here]

CMC No. 47 denied Bayer's motion to exclude the testimony of the Yaz plaintiffs' regulatory expert witnesses.

Why Are Yaz, Yasmin, & Ocella So Dangerous?

Popular birth control pills, Yaz, Yasmin and Ocella, have been linked to serious and potentially deadly side effects. Yaz side effects and health problems affect women of all ages, including teens and young women.

Yaz, Yasmin and Ocella have been linked to serious side effects, such as heart attack, stroke, pulmonary embolism (PE), deep vein thrombosis (DVT), gallbladder disease and sudden cardiac death.

Despite these serious side effects, Bayer marketed these drugs to young women not only as a contraceptive, but to relieve symptoms of severe PMS and as an acne fighter.

The FDA reprimanded Bayer [in 2009] for overstating the benefits and downplaying the risks of Yaz in television advertisements. The slogan for Yaz was "beyond birth control."

Bayer marketed Yaz to women in their 20s. Commercials cultivated a hip, youthful image set to rock music, and advertised Yaz as a treatment for acne and premenstrual syndrome (PMS).

The FDA called Bayer's advertisements "misleading" and reprimanded Bayer in a number of official FDA letters. Bayer's conduct was so egregious that the FDA ordered Bayer to run a $20 million "corrective" ad campaign.

You can read the official FDA warning letters here:

The dangerous culprit in Yaz, Yasmin, and Ocella is drospirenone, a synthetic (artificial) hormone that has been linked to blood clotting disorders and gallbladder disease. Yaz, Yasmin, Ocella and their generic-brand counterparts (including Beyaz and Vestura) combine estrogen with the synthetic progestin Drospirenone. No other oral contraceptive (or birth control pill) contains Drospirenone.

Drospirenone has been linked to serious side effects including blood clots, heart attack, stroke, pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis (DVT), and even gallbladder disease.

In a recently released FDA funded study that compared several different types of oral contraceptives, those that contain drospirenone were shown to increase blood clot risks by 75%.

Read More: Yaz Side Effects: FDA Wants More Studies And Warning About Blood Clots

Read More: FDA Study Finds Increased Risk of Blood Clots For Yaz, Other Drospirenone Contraceptives

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy.

Here's an illustration showing how Yaz and other drospirenone-containing birth control pills cause blood clots and related serious side effects:

Yaz dangerous side effects

Blood clotting is a normal bodily function. This function normally stops blood flow from cuts and creates scabs to stop bleeding. This function repairs damage to the skin and other body tissues. However, the chemical combinations in Vestura, Yaz, Yasmin and Ocella can cause abnormal blood clotting. This results in blood clotting when it is unnecessary and inside the blood vessel, vein or artery.

These abnormal blood clots can break away from the blood vessel on which they formed. When these clots break away they travel through the blood stream and can form a blockage or become lodged inside the heart itself. This blockage can starve the flow of blood and cause a heart attack.

If the blood clot lodges in the brain (rather than the heart), it can result in a stroke.

If the blood clot lodges in the pulmonary artery that supplies blood to the lungs, it can result in a pulmonary embolism (or PE).

Why Does Bayer Continue to Defend and Market This Dangerous Drug?

To me, the answer is obvious: Money. In 2010 alone, Yaz made Bayer a profit of $1.6 billion. On these substantial profits, Bayer has continued to heavily market these dangerous birth control pills and in the process set aside 50 million Euro for "anticipated defense costs". A Wall Street analyst called the litigation set-aside "a negative disappointment, but a one-time issue."

It's time for Bayer to stop putting profits over safety. It's time for Bayer to accept responsibility for its dangerous birth control pills that have ruined the lives of thousands of young women. It's time for Bayer to end this litigation through mediation and pull this dangerous drug from the market.

[More on Yaz Side Effects, Risks, and Yaz Lawsuits]

(c) Copyright 2012 Brett A. Emison

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