Lawyers want to add drugs in Bayer contraceptive class action

By Steve Korris | Aug 12, 2010


EAST ST. LOUIS – Lawyers leading national litigation against Bayer over oral contraceptives Yasmin and Yaz seek to inject two new drugs into the proceedings.

They have requested millions of pages of records about Natazia, a new oral contraceptive with different ingredients from Yasmin and Yaz.

On Aug. 9, Bayer lawyer Terry Lueckenhoff of St. Louis asked U.S. District Judge David Herndon to protect the company from production of Natazia documents.

Herndon presides over Yasmin and Yaz cases from federal courts around the nation by appointment of the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multi District Litigation.

Plaintiffs claim the drugs caused heart attacks, strokes, embolisms, clots, and diseases in gall bladders and kidneys.

Lueckenhoff wrote, "Not one plaintiff in these coordinated proceedings has alleged any wrongdoing with respect to Natazia or any injury or loss relating to Natazia.

"Unlike Yaz and Yasmin, Natazia does not contain drosperinone, but has a different progestin called dienogest.

"Natazia does not contain ethinyl estradiol, the only other active ingredient in Yaz and Yasmin, but rather has estradiol valerate," he wrote.

Plaintiffs seek records about its chemical structure, clinical development, marketing and promotion, he wrote.

"Responding would require the disclosure of highly sensitive information, like patents and formulation data, relating to a drug not at issue in these proceedings," he wrote.

He squeezed in a footnote advising Herndon that plaintiffs served dozens of discovery requests relating to another drug, Angeliq.

Bayer has produced 30 million pages of documents on Yaz and Yasmin, he wrote.

Lawyers argued over Natazia and Angeliq at a status conference on Aug. 11, but Herndon did not resolve the dispute.

At the conference, Herndon said some plaintiffs still haven't submitted fact sheets.

He posted an order on July 9, reminding plaintiffs to provide names, social security numbers, basic facts of their claims, and authority to release medical records.

His minutes of the hearing state that, "The court has made clear that provider information must be submitted."

"If these are too untimely, the court may dismiss the cases without prejudice," Herndon wrote.

"The court reiterates this must be signed and filled in by the client or attorney and cannot be left blank.

"The court advised that it is in a position right now to have to dismiss two cases for failure to comply with this requirement."

Roger Denton of St. Louis, Mark Niemeyer of Webster Groves, Missouri, and Michael London and Seth Katz of New York City represented plaintiffs at the conference.

Adam Hoeflich of Chicago and John Galvin of St. Louis represented Bayer.

Herndon set another conference Sept. 16.

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