German Pharmaceutical Faces US Lawsuit over Oral Contraceptive

Added by on May 14, 2011

A German chemical and pharmaceutical company is facing a lawsuit in the US after a teenager died from a blood clot allegedly linked the one of the company’s products – the YAZ contraceptive.

Michelle Pfleger died of cardiac arrest last September after taking YAZ, also known as Yasmin or Ocella, a contraceptive made by the German company Bayer, to treat acne.

Pfleger was an 18-year old college student in North Carolina at the time of her death. “One day she was a freshman at college so full of hope and promise and the next she was gone,” said Joan Cummins, Pfleger’s mother.

Cummins added “I can only hope that by publicizing what happened to Michelle, I can keep another family from having to go through this.”


According to the complaint, lodged on Tuesday, the family’s attorney Wendy Fleishman called YAZ “a dangerous prescription drug sold without adequate warnings about the risks of serious and fatal injuries.”

“Bayer failed to warn doctors and patients that YAZ poses a greater risk of serious side effects than previous generations of oral contraceptives,” the complaint read.

It is not the first time that drugs like YAZ have been linked to an increased risk of blood clots. Two studies published last month in the British Medical Journal found that such drugs – containing the hormone drospirenone – increased the risk of serious blood clots two to three times that of earlier-generation oral contraceptives.

Although Bayer had criticised the studies, saying that such side-effects were rare, the offical YAZ website does state that the drug is associated with “increased risks of several serious side effects, including blood clots, stroke, and heart attack.”