Kentucky’s Suit Over Bayer Contraceptive Pill Moving Forward

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By Julie A. Steinberg

Kentucky’s suit alleging Bayer Corp. deceptively marketed Yaz and Yasmin birth control pills heads back to trial court after a state appeals court rejected challenges by the drugmaker ( Bayer Corp. v. Shepherd , Ky. Ct. App., No. 2017-CA-000245, 6/29/17 ).

The next steps in the consumer protection suit are expected to be discovery, or the exchange of information, and then litigation in trial court, Terry Sebastian, communications director for Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear (D), told Bloomberg BNA July 10.

The state alleges Bayer misled doctors and patients about the pills’ health risks, in violation of a 2007 agreement with Kentucky and 29 other states involving the cholesterol medication Baycol.

Although the earlier settlement involved a different drug, it prohibits Bayer from making any false, misleading or deceptive representation regarding any of its pharmaceutical products.

The pills contain a hormone called drospirenone. The Food and Drug Administration said in 2012 that drospirenone-containing birth control pills may be associated with a higher risk for blood clots than pills made with different hormone formulations.

The Kentucky Court of Appeals said June 29 that the litigation could go forward.

Most Suits Resolved

Most lawsuits and claims concerning Bayer’s drospirenone-containing oral contraceptives in the U.S. have been resolved, according to Bayer’s 2016 annual report.

As of Jan. 23, 2017, about 100 lawsuits and claims were pending against Bayer in the U.S., the report said. About a dozen are being evaluated for settlement.

A few U.S. state attorneys general are investigating alleged violations of consumer protection statutes, including off-label promotion (marketing a drug for uses not approved by the FDA) and failure to warn, the company said.

But Beshear is the only AG suing Bayer.

Bayer previously settled thousands of personal injury suits over Yas and Yazmin.

“Bayer believes that it has meritorious defenses and will continue to defend itself vigorously against all claims that are not considered for settlement,” the company said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Julie A. Steinberg in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steven Patrick at

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