Press Release, April 13, 2010
Coalition against Bayer Dangers (Germany)

Yaz victims to appear in Bayer shareholder meeting

Ban demanded / Coalition introduces countermotions / more than 50 deaths in the US

Several victims of the contraceptive pills Yaz and Yasmin are to speak in the Bayer shareholder meeting which takes place in Cologne/Germany on April 30. About 4,000 stockholders and the Bayer board will participate.

Philipp Mimkes from the Coalition against Bayer Dangers, a non-profit network based in Germany that has been monitoring Bayer for 30 years, says: “With up to 100 million women all over the world using the contraceptive pill, even relatively rare adverse effects lead to numerous cases of impaired health. It is outrageous that new contraceptives are more dangerous than older products. Contraceptive pills that are associated with an increased risk of thrombosis and embolism must be banned.” The Coalition introduced a countermotion on the issue to Bayer´s upcoming stockholders´ meeting. “Since the Board of Management of BAYER has not stopped the marketing of products with an increased incidence of side-effects, its actions must not be ratified”, Mimkes adds. Last year Bayer generated sales of €1.28 billion with contraceptive pills, and this has made it the global leader.

Contraceptive pills of the latest generation are associated with a risk of embolism that is nearly twice as high as that associated with older products. In the US about 1,100 lawsuits have been filed against Bayer, the company disclosed in its 2009 annual report. The suits, which could number as many as 25,000, will be handled in East St. Louis as part of a multidistrict litigation. The cases allege that Yaz can cause a rise in blood potassium which slows the heart rate, allowing clots to form in the bloodstream.

Yaz/Yasmin is heavily advertised by Bayer, especially towards girls and young women, by promising reduction of weight and acne relief. In the US Lauren Bosworth of MTV’s The Hills was hired as an endorser and spokeswoman for Yaz. However, no attention is drawn by Bayer to the more pronounced risk profile associated with products containing the hormone drospirenone. This leads to avoidable incidents and fatalities. In the United States Bayer already had to pay US$ 20 million in fines for making false claims in advertising spots for YASMIN.

Also in Germany extremely serious damage and even fatalities have repeatedly occurred. One of the women harmed, Felicitas Rohrer, reports, “It’s a miracle I’m still alive, thanks to the incredibly good work done by the doctors and some fortunate circumstances." The 25-year-old suffered a serious pulmonary embolism in July 2009 after taking the pill YASMINELLE. “The fatal thing about this contraceptive pill is that it specifically targets young girls. The first pack is supplied in a smart silver cardboard box with a make-up brush. This and the alleged advantage that it doesn’t cause weight gain naturally increase young women’s acceptance of this product enormously. But they are not told that using this product will increase their risk of developing a thrombosis or embolism.” Rohrer announced to speak in the shareholder meeting.

The Euras study cited by Bayer, designed to demonstrate the alleged safety of YASMIN, was sponsored by Schering – today part of Bayer – and performed by a Schering employee. Independent scientists have reached completely different conclusions. Two studies published in the British Medical Journal last year show that drospirenone-containing pills such as YASMIN are associated with a roughly 80% greater risk of thrombosis than older products. Medical journals saw the problem coming and warned already at an early stage against using YASMIN.

In the period from 2004 to 2008, over 50 fatalities due to YASMIN and YAZ were recorded in the United States alone. Yet BAYER refuses to provide exact information on the frequency of serious adverse events and fatalities - allegedly so as "not to worry customers." In fact the intention is for the negative information to disappear into a drawer somewhere so as not to put sales at risk. The Coalition against BAYER Dangers is calling for the mandatory disclosure of all reported adverse effects and post-marketing studies as well as effective penalties for unfair pharmaceutical advertising.

More information:
· Countermotion on Bayer website: (“download”)
· Tens of thousands of women “should consider switching pill”