Raise awareness of environmental health issues in order to better protect our children and future generations.

17 January 2013

Attention! This Contraceptive Can Harm Your Health

Reposted:   On 8 December 2011, the Swiss TV – Télévision Suisse romande – showed a documentary on the dangers of this contraceptive, “Attention, cette pilule peut nuire à votre santé” (“Attention, this pill can harm your health”).

Update (17 January 2013): As of March 2012, approximately 12,000 lawsuits have been brought against Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals, Inc., the manufacturer of Yasmin, Yaz, Beyaz and Safyral, alleging an increased risk of blood clots (deep vein thrombosis (DVT), pulmonary embolism (PE)) and gallbladder problems. Ocella, the generic version of Yasmin, is also associated with serious side effects. As well as blood clots, DVT and pulmonary embolism, all of the oral contraceptives containing ethinyl estradiol and the new "fourth generation" progestin drospirenone (DRSP) have been linked to: blood clots, gallbladder disease, stroke, cerebrovascular accidents (CVA), heart attack, myocardial infarction, death. (Ref: Lawyers and Settlements.com : Yasmin / Yaz Birth Control Side Effects)

Yasmin, Yasminelle and Yaz, fourth generation contraceptives made by Bayer-Schering, have more side effects than those of the second generation, that is, greater risk of embolism, thrombosis and stroke which could lead to severe disability and even death.

The contraceptive has been publicized as a “miracle pill”.  Besides its effectiveness as a contraceptive, it eases pre-menstrual discomfort, clears up acne, and helps lose weight.  Thanks in part to its aggressive marketing, Bayer earns around $1 billion per year in sales from the drug.  Women, influenced by this publicity, ask their doctors for this pill and doctors oblige, continuing to prescribe it massively.  Many do not signal the side-effects, saying it is up to the individual (consumer) to inform herself and assume the risks.

Swiss doctors interviewed said they were awaiting the orders of Swiss Medic, the authority which advises on pharmaceutical products, to take a position regarding the pill.  Swiss Medic, although aware of its increased risk, said it wasn’t their responsibility to inform doctors but rather it is the role of the doctors’ association.

A class action suit involving 9,000 women in the United States who suffered serious side-effects from this contraceptive has been filed against Bayer.  The trial is to start in January 2012.  The United States has already banned publicity for the drug.

In Switzerland, there is one trial against Bayer in process – a young girl who suffered an embolism and cardiac arrest.  She spent three months in a coma and is now severely handicapped.  She had been taking Yasmin for only three months.  The lawyer believes his client has a chance of winning because doctors at the hospital where the young girl was treated placed in writing that Yasmin was the cause of the embolism.  The trial will last years.

The filmmakers approached Bayer which cited a study denying the pill’s increased risk over second generation contraceptives.  This study was undertaken by a former employee of Bayer.

The film showed two other cases where young women suffered embolisms from taking this pill:  one died (there have been 190 deaths reported as of April 2011), the other lost her eyesight and suffers health complications.

Meanwhile, Bayer continues to earn billions of dollars from its sales of Yasmin, Yasminelle and Yaz, and tens of thousands of women continue to swallow this pill, putting their lives at serious risk.

by Meris Michaels

See also these articles by the Coalition against Bayer Dangers and the CBS Business Network from April 2011.  To view the TSR documentary in French, click here.

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