Tuesday June 8, 2010

Canadian Women Sue Birth Control Pill Manufacturer

By Thaddeus M. Baklinski

TORONTO, June 8, 2010 ( – A group of Canadian women is suing Bayer Pharmaceutical, claiming that the contraceptive pill manufacturer does not adequately inform users of the potential serious health risks associated with the oral contraceptives Yaz and Yasmin.

The legal firm of Siskinds LLP is representing the group. It will present evidence that the hormonal birth control pills cause conditions ranging from decreased bone density to strokes, gallbladder problems leading to surgery, pulmonary embolisms, and numerous other serious health issues.

Matthew Baer, legal counsel at Siskinds, told the media that he has evidence about the health risks of the product, which uses drospirenone, a synthetic progestin that has been linked to over 25,000 reported cases of adverse effects and several deaths.

“We’re hearing about pulmonary embolisms, deep vein thrombosis, stroke and, a more unusual one, people having issues with their gallbladders,” he told CTV.

The lawsuit alleges that Bayer downplayed the serious side effects of the pills, failed to conduct proper research before releasing them onto the market, and failed adequately to warn patients and doctors about the increased health risk associated with use of Yasmin and Yaz.

Over 100 lawsuits have been filed in the U.S. against Bayer by Yasmin and Yaz users. Several medical advisory groups have called for an outright ban on the contraceptives.

The Swiss Federation of Service to Patients recently called for a ban on Yaz, Yasmin and other contraceptive pills containing drospirenone, after the drug was linked to the death of a 17-year-old German girl who died in a Swiss hospital.

This was the third serious incident reported in Switzerland last year involving such contraceptives. In each case, the women suffered pulmonary embolisms. In May of 2009, a woman ended up severely disabled after a three-month coma, and in September another woman died.

This past weekend a coalition of pro-life groups, led by the American Life League (ALL), sponsored “The Pill Kills” day. The annual event, which took place June 5, seeks to provide women with information on the dangers of hormonal birth control that the pill manufacturers suppress.

This year’s “The Pill Kills” day added an environmental note to the health concerns of contraceptive drugs.

Under the title “Protest the Pill Day: The Pill Kills the Environment” organizers presented the often hidden negative effects of hormonal contraceptives on the ecosystem.

Katie Walker, Communications Director for ALL, observed that, “In a world obsessed with ‘going green,’ we hope to use this hypocritical acceptance of birth control – which is a notorious pollutant – to open up a conversation about the pill that you won’t hear anywhere else.”

“Scientists are discovering ‘intersex’ fish in various areas around the world,” said Marie Hahnenberg, The Pill Kills project director. “Studies in the United States, from California to Maryland (including the Potomac River), have revealed that some male fish have been feminized by the vast quantities of synthetic estrogen in the water.”

“It’s about time women were made aware that the birth control they are taking could have negative consequences on their health and on the environment,” said Judie Brown, president and cofounder of American Life League. “They deserve the truth – regardless of political pressure to conceal it.”

See related LSN articles:

Women Sue Birth Control Manufacturer over Serious Health Issues

Study: Low-Dose Birth Control Pills Decrease Bone Density in Young Women

Swiss Woman’s Death Linked to Hormonal Contraceptive

Another Woman Dies of Hormonal Contraceptive in Switzerland