Swiss insurer jumps into legal fight over Bayer's Yasmin

Bayer has another foe in its battle to defend the contraceptive pill Yasmin. Switzerland's biggest insurer, CSS, is backing a woman's claims against the German company, joining in her lawsuit that alleges Yasmin triggered her disabling pulmonary embolism.

As Reuters reports, citing Swiss media, the woman suffered a blood clot in her lungs a few weeks after starting Yasmin. The embolism left her severely disabled, the suit claims, and her medical treatment alone cost about 600,000 Swiss francs ($648,600). The insurer wants to recover those healthcare costs from Bayer.

Bayer wouldn't comment on the suit. But while the company has agreed to pay $750 million to settle almost 3,500 legal claims in the U.S., Bayer still contends that the benefits of Yasmin and its sister products outweigh their risks. The company has said that its own research has found no additional blood-clotting risk with the newer pills when compared with traditional hormonal contraceptives.

The Swiss news follows news of a safety review by the European Medicines Agency. The regulatory body is looking at data on the relative risk of blood clots with newer contraceptive pills, including Bayer's line of pills containing the synthetic hormone estradiol. The FDA last year added warnings to the pills' labels saying they may raise the risk of blood clots.

- read the Reuters news