Yaz became a wildly popular form of birth control in the United States after hitting the market in 2006. By 2008, it owned the market with 18% share and toppling sales at $616 million that year. It was created as an effective form of birth control, but it was also marketed to treat acne and premenstrual syndrome (PMS). With those claims, hundreds of thousands of women across the nation began taking the pill. Bayer owns and manufactures the drug. Now, Yaz birth control lawsuit claims are adding up because of everything the ads said—and didn’t say.
Yaz Birth Control Lawsuit Says Misleading Ads Masked Side Effects
Bayer’s television commercials are to blame in large part for the false marketing claims. Bayer publicized their “Balloons” and “Not Gonna Take It” slogans, making serious claims about the benefits while minimizing the side effects.
The Balloons advertisement featured a series of colorful balloons with symptoms that often accompany premenstrual syndrome The ad promised that Yaz would help improve them. Symptoms included muscle aches, fatigue, headaches, moodiness, and increased appetite. Women who don’t need birth control began taking it to improve their mood and to lose weight.
The “Not Gonna Take It” advertisement showed several women in various situations (amusement parks, outdoors) who are happy because their birth control (Yaz) helps them to control their premenstrual syndrome. In the commercial, the song “We’re Not Gonna Take it” overwhelms the voice in the background that describes the possible negative side effects.
The FDA Warnings and Penalties
The FDA cracked down on Bayer following these ads, requiring them to run new ads to amend statements made in previous ads. Regulators said that the ads overstated the drug’s ability to clear up acne and fight premenstrual symptoms. They also said that the ads did not say enough about potential health risks.
But by that point, the damage was done. By the time the FDA had intervened in Bayer’s advertising, millions had already filled prescriptions. Side effects were already prevalent in a portion of the users. Women were already reporting serious side effects such as:
- Heart arrhythmia
- Gallbladder problems
- Blood clots
- Electrolyte imbalance
- Sudden death
It is important to note that some of these serious side effects were mentioned in the Yaz advertisements, but because of the marketing they were not easily detectable for the women who would otherwise take the pill. Poor labeling also prevented serious side effects from becoming comprehensive.
Why Women are Filing a Yaz Birth Control Lawsuit
The Yaz birth control lawsuit story is starting to sound all too familiar in America’s pharmaceutical market: a drug provides a certain benefit. It also comes with severe side effects. Marketing puts an outsized emphasis on benefits while downplaying the side effects. Thousands end up injured, because the manufacturer didn’t properly study the drug’s impact or didn’t disclose the dangers. One way or another, the manufacturer is accused of putting money over the public’s health.
By April 2012, more than 12,000 women had filed suit, and Bayer had agreed in a partial settlement to pay an average of $220,000 per case to women who were injured. In 2015, Bayer agreed to another round of settlements.
If you or a loved one has taken Yaz and experienced negative side effects such as pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis or any of the side effects mentioned above, you may be eligible for compensation.
Lori Polemenakos is Director of Consumer Content and SEO strategist for LeadingResponse, a legal marketing company. An award-winning journalist, writer and editor based in Dallas, Texas, she's produced articles for major brands such as Match.com, Yahoo!, MSN, AOL, Xfinity, Mail.com, and edited several published books. Since 2016, she's published hundreds of articles about Social Security disability, workers' compensation, veterans' benefits, personal injury, mass tort, auto accident claims, bankruptcy, employment law and other related legal issues.