A Hong Kong man is suing German drug giant Bayer, claiming his wife died after years of taking an oral contraceptive made by the company.
Chan Ho said three of the drugmaker’s subsidiaries – Bayer Healthcare, Bayer Weimar GmbH and Co. K.G. and Bayer Pharma — were negligent in the manufacture and distribution of the contraceptive pill Yasmin, Apple Daily reports, citing a High Court writ.
Chan said his wife, Poon Lai-ming, who had been taking the contraceptive for 10 years, suffered breathing problems on Jan. 27, 2013 and died of pulmonary embolism hours later.
She was 45.
Chan said blood clots were found in Poon’s lungs which forensic experts blamed on excessive intake of the contraceptive.
However, gynecologist Dr. Kun Ka-yan said he knows of no incident in Hong Kong in which anyone died from taking contraceptives.
Kun said Yasmin, a third-generation anti-pregnancy drug, is popular among women because it produces fewer side effects such as weight gain and edema.
However, the contraceptive has a higher risk of causing blood clots than an earlier generation of the drug, he said.
Yasmin was registered in Hong Kong in 2001 and requires no prescription.
The Health Department said it asked drugmakers in 2011 to add warning labels on their packaging about the risk of blood clots from contraceptive medicines.
It said it has not received any reports about adverse reaction to the pills.
In 2013, Bayer agreed to pay US$1 billion to settle a class-action lawsuit from a group of women who said they developed blood clots and suffered strokes from long-term Yasmin use.
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