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Yaz, America’s top-selling birth control, hit the shelves in 2006 in a big way. The pill promised effective birth control, clearer skin, and the ad campaign reflected that Yaz was hip, young, and definitely not the same birth control your mother grew up on. Claims against the dangerous drug were already taking place overseas, in places like Great Britain, but in America the birth control pill kept selling, despite some of the health warnings. The too-good-to-be-true pill started showing its true colors. Even with FDA warnings and an amended commercial, Yaz kept selling and women kept feeling the pain of side effects.
It’s any wonder why women still choose to take Yaz when the dangers are clearly out there. While the Bayer Company, makers of Yaz, kept quiet about serious side effects when the drug first hit the market, they have made more of an effort to clearly state the dangers of their formerly top-selling drug. Any interested or current Yaz user, checking out the official Yaz website will notice that it’s full of warnings and a link to the FDA’s latest “safety announcement”.
Additionally, in February of 2013, Bayer had reached agreements, without admission of liability, to settle the claims of approximately 4,800 claimants in the U.S. against Yaz. While the birth control pill has serious and sometimes fatal side effects/risks such as deep vein thrombosis (DVT), pulmonary embolism (PE), heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and liver damage, Bayer was only settling claims in the United States for DVT or PE, which made up about 3,200 of the claims. More recently, Bayer agreed to pay up to $24 million to settle other lawsuits involving allegations of gall bladder side effects and will continue to consider the option of settling individual lawsuits on a case-by-case basis.
Surely, Bayer is taking some financial losses with all the pending lawsuits, but the company would most likely lose much more if the ever-popular Yaz was taken off of the market for good. If Yaz was taken off of the market, its loyal users could still find several generic options that remain on the market and often at a much cheaper cost.
Choosing Birth Control: An important discussion between a patient and a medical professional
Any women who decide to take Yaz or any of the generic options should continue to be aware and warned of the dangerous side effects. While women, interested in taking birth control, should take the safety of their health in their own hands, doctors and other medical professionals should be responsible for voicing any dangers as well. As stated by the FDA, “Women should talk to their healthcare professional about their risk for blood clots before deciding which birth control method (Yaz) to use” and “Healthcare professionals should consider the risks and benefits of drospirenone-containing birth control pills (Yaz) and a woman’s risk for developing a blood clot before prescribing these drugs.”
Yaz used to be known as a groundbreaking, life changing, new wave of birth control, but given the financial, emotional, and physical pain of many Yaz takers, it was realized it was no safer than any other birth control on the market. Women, when choosing birth control, should research all of their options with great consideration and look at the hard facts rather than the “too-good-to-be-true” claims and images.