Yaz and Yasmin are popular birth control pills that are similar in composition, and similar in the unexpected side effects they can cause. Both these drugs are produced by Bayer Pharmaceuticals. In recent times, Yaz and Yasmin have played a central role in a lot of legal battles against Bayer Pharmaceuticals. These lawsuits have been filed by different plaintiffs across the country, who have used Yaz or Yasmin and as a result suffered serious side effects. Both drug can cause blood clots, pulmonary embolism, and other heart problems in patients using them.  Both Yaz and Yasmin are part of a new generation of oral contraceptives, which uses the synthetic hormone drospirenone as an active ingredient. Drospirenone is linked with an increased risk of blood clots. The risk of developing clots after its use is six times higher than patients using other form of contraceptives.

Clots developed due to Yaz or Yasmin usage can pose fatal health problems. These clots can travel to heart causing heart attack or other cardiovascular problems. They can move to lungs and cause pulmonary embolism. They can even lead to death, if the diseases become aggravated. Drospirenone combined with another active ingredient of Yaz and Yasmin called ethinyl estradiol, can cause severe gallbladder diseases.

Food and Drug Administration had also criticized Bayer for making false claims about the actual benefits of the pill.  The FDA has also given a warning to Bayer regarding its ad campaigns, in which it has promoted these drugs for other than FDA-approved uses.

Although the lawsuits against Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals can be filed in virtually any state or jurisdiction, the vast majority of cases end up consolidated in just a few forums.  Most cases filed in state courts are transferred to federal courts when companies like Bayer exercise their right to “remove” the case to federal court.  The right of removal protects an out-of-state corporation by eliminating any home-town bias that might be present in a local court.  Once Bayer removes enough cases to federal court, Bayer can petition the federal courts to appoint a single judge to streamline the pre-trial procedures of these similar cases.  In this case, the panel of federal judges (known as the Judicial Panel on Multi-District Litigation (MDL)) appointed Judge David Herndon, a U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of Illinois, to oversee the federal cases.

In some states, the procedural rules make it more difficult to remove the state court cases to federal court.  For those states, where large numbers of cases remain in the state court system, the judiciary has similar procedures that consolidate the cases into a single courtroom, where the judge will be familiar with the disputed issues in these cases, and the judge can establish ground rules that apply to each case, streamlining the process.  In the Yaz-Yasmin litigation, the Pennsylvania state courts consolidated the Pennsylvania state-court cases in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, where Judge Sandra Mazer Moss will decide the pre-trial issues that affect every Yaz and Yasmin claim.  To further streamline the process, Judge Moss appointed three plaintiffs’ attorneys to serve as liaison counsel for the injured plaintiffs.  These attorneys, referred to as the plaintiffs’ steering committee, are responsible for conducting pre-trial matters in a way that benefits all injured plaintiffs.

Another state-court consolidated proceeding was established in New Jersey.  On February 9, 2010, the New Jersey Supreme Court designated Judge Brian R. Martinotti of the Superior Court of Bergen County, New Jersey to preside over Yaz, Yasmin and Ocella birth control lawsuits.

All of these lawsuits accuse Bayer for not giving adequate information regarding side effects of these drugs and allege drospirenone (DRSP), one of the active ingredients in these drugs to be the cause of blood clots, strokes, heart attacks, gall bladder disease, deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, and other serious health problems. Bayer is alleged to have known about the severe side effects of these drugs, even then it did not provide adequate warning to consumers and marketed these drugs aggressively.