Bloomberg: Bayer to pay $110 million to get out from under 500 Yaz lawsuits

Three months of negotiations have apparently resulted in Bayer ($BAYN) deciding that claims against its Yasmin line of birth control are worth about $220,000 each.

Citing sources, Bloomberg reports, the company is prepared to pay $110 million to settle the first 500 of about 11,000 claims that it told consumers that its Yaz and Yasmin contraceptives were safer than others when it allegedly knew they could cause fatal blood clots. The first case was slated for trial in January, but a federal judge postponed it so the company could enter a mediation process. The settlement offer is what has come out the other end. 

Bayer's contraceptives produced 2010 revenues of $1.58 billion, placing them second only behind its multiple sclerosis drug Betaseron in sales for the German company, Bloomberg points out. According to data from research firm IMS Health, as of September, Yasmin ranked fourth in contraceptive sales in the U.S. in 2011, with a 4.6% market share.

But its safety has been a hotly debated topic for years. In January, after a review, the FDA said the labels of Yasmin and other contraceptives that contained a synthetic form of progesterone known as drospirenone must contain labeling referencing study data that suggests as much as a threefold increase in clotting risk.

The settlement is more the beginning than the end. In a SEC filing in February, Bayer said it had already settled 70 lawsuits involving the contraceptives but expected more to be filed.

- here's the Bloomberg story

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