Oral contraceptives manufactured by Bayer Healthcare and now prescribed in Ireland are being blamed for causing serious side effects ,such as blood clots, heart attacks, strokes, kidney failure and in some cases sudden death. The drugs were licensed by the Medicines Board in 2008
The contraceptive pills called Yaz and Yasmin are combined oral contraceptives that contain ethinyl estradiol, long used in oral contraceptives, and drospirenone, a synthetic hormone.
The drugs were advertised widely on TV in the USA as helping to clear up acne, relieve premenstrual irritability and prevent pregnancy.
When they were approved by US regulators in 2001 the pills were considered an advance over older forms of oral contraceptives because they were taken for 24 days instead of the usual 21, which was believed to benefit because it created less hormonal fluctuation.
Early on however, there were concerns about the health risks associated with drospirenone and US consumer advisory group, Public Citizen warned consumers that drospirenone caused elevated blood levels of potassium, which could trigger serious heart problems. .
Hundreds of women have now started legal proceedings in the USA claiming that they suffered serious injuries from their use of these drugs and that Bayer provided inadequate warnings about the health risks of taking the drospirenone-containing birth control pills.
In one case, a teenager in the USA, Ms. Michelle Pfleger died in 2010 of pulmonary embolism. She died after a blood clot lodged in her lung, causing her to go into cardiac arrest as she made her way to class at college. Her mother, Joan Cummins has now filed a law suit against Bayer Healthcare, alleging that the birth control pill caused her 18 year old daughters death.
The company has rejected the claims stating that the contraceptives are safe and effective when used as directed and according to good clinical practice. They claim that the side effects are warned about in the labelling for both drugs.
Speaking today, Liam Moloney, Personal Injury Lawyer said “women should be warned by the Irish Medicines Board of the risks associated with the use of these drugs. Doctors and Pharmacists should also warn their patients about the potential dangers of drospirenone-containing contraceptives to avoid women being injured”