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Yaz Side Effects Linked to Deaths, Bayer's Stock Soars at Height of Yaz Sales

Based on recent reports, as many as 190 women in the United States may have died due to the side effects caused by Yasmin and Yaz oral contraceptive pills, leading some to accuse Bayer, the maker of Yaz, of once again putting profits over the safety and well being of women. 

Coalition Against Bayer Dangers (CGB), based in Germany, has stated that a review of the Food and Drug Administration's database for adverse events reported that at least 140 deaths have occurred as a result of the popular contraceptive's use. An additional 50 deaths were reported with Yaz, the newer version of Yasmin.

Bayer profits more important than patient safety?

Bayer released Yaz on the US market in 2006, and its stock experienced exceptional growth shortly thereafter - doubling in value between the period during which Yaz was released and reports of Yaz's danger began surfacing. In 2009, as the uproar over dangerous Yaz side effects came to head, Bayer's stock price plummeted - losing nearly half of its value from its 2008 high. 

With the possibility of such a profound effect on its stock price, did Bayer management hold the safety of their patients paramount, or did the pursuit of profits and shareholder value (and thus the executive's bonuses) cause Bayer's to failure to warn the medical community about the extent of Yaz side-effects while at the same time aggressively and improperly marketing Yaz - leading to the possibly preventable deaths of women taking Yaz. 

Multiple studies report the danger of Yaz

The figures pointed out by the organization only represent deaths of women living in the United States and don't take into consideration other women in other parts of the world who also took Yasmin or Yaz. The majority of the women who died were young and had little or no problems with health. They suddenly developed gallbladder disease, blood clots or pulmonary embolisms or suffered strokes after taking one of the drugs.

The FDA's data does not constitute evidence that Yasmin or Yaz caused the deaths so it remains unclear what portion are or are not directly connected to health problems caused by the contraceptives. However, officials with the FDA and other organizations claim that the drugs' side effects are severely under-reported. This means that there is a significant chance that the actual death rate due to Yasmin and Yaz is actually much higher.

Some studies have showed that drospirenone-based contraceptives may increase the risk of blood clots, strokes and pulmonary embolisms by up to 80% as opposed to older versions of contraceptive pills that are every bit as effective at preventing unintended pregnancies.

CGB intends to have women who have experienced problems from the drugs to have their say at Bayer's next shareholder meeting and plans to insist that the company take the drugs off the market.

Bayer held accountable by Yaz Lawsuits

It is the responsibility of a drug company to ensure the safety of their drug. They must properly test the drug, and communicate these results to the medical community. While almost no drug can be expected to be 100% safe, proper testing and disclosure allows doctors and patients to make an informed decision about their treatment, and determine if a particular drug is right for the patient (does the benefit outweigh the risks). If Bayer improperly disclosed the risks of Yaz, then they may be responsible for the injuries caused by Yaz's side effects to patients. 

Bayer is on the receiving end of roughly 7,000 lawsuits which have become part of a multi-district litigation in the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of Illinois. New Jersey and Pennsylvania also report hundreds of cases filed at the state level.

The lawsuits against Bayer have been brought by women and surviving family members who believe that Bayer failed to properly research the drugs and concealed the possible side effects of Yasmin and Yaz oral contraceptive pills.

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