A report by CBC news this morning explains that 23 Canadian women are alleged to have died as a result of blood clots that formed while they were taking two of the most popular birth control pills: Yaz and Yasmin. These instances raise concerns that the risk associated with taking the drugs is far higher than is currently understood.

Yaz and Yasmin are products of Bayer, suspected by Canadian authorities of having a risk of causing blood clots that is 1.5 to 3 times higher than alternative pills that do not contain the proprietary ingredient drospirenone. The risk is greater with those that smoke or already have a clotting disorder.

The drugs are available to minors and the report explains that the youngest of the 23 victims was only 14 years old. Nonetheless, Bayer contends that “…we fully stand behind, Yaz and Yasmin.”

“These latest reports coming from Canada about the deaths caused by blood clots resulting from the use of Yaz and Yasmin are troubling and tragic. The issues associated with the chemicals that are unique to these forms of birth control are known to Bayer but the risks have been downplayed,” commented Ned McWilliams, an attorney with the Levin, Papantonio law firm.

In Canada, a class action lawsuit has been certified against Bayer on behalf of at least 1,000 women. Bayer is opposing the class action’s certification and is unhappy with the judge’s decision to allow it to move forward according to its statement to CBC.

In the United States, lawsuits have been filed against Bayer alleging that the drugs containing drospirenone, which is a synthetic form of progestin, can have major negative side effects. The lawsuits also raise suspicions that the generic form of Yasmin, Ocella, has similar problems.

“Regrettably, when companies put products on the market that then injure people, they rarely own up to their wrongdoing without being held accountable by the courts,” Mr. McWilliams added.

The problems associated with Yaz and Yasmin are substantial and should be discussed with a physician before any decisions about treatment are made. Will the American and Canadian lawsuits force Bayer to be accountable for those that its products have injured? Only time will tell.

Joshua is a writer and researcher with Ring of Fire.