The 23 reported Canadian deaths are considered to be only a small indication of the actual number of deaths associated with the use of both Yaz and Yasmin. Adverse drug reactions are often significantly underestimated by Health Canada as a consequence of the failure for patients, physicians, and companies to accurately report serious adverse events, underreporting of serious adverse events, poor quality of the submitted reports, difficulty in calculating accurate rates of adverse events and reporting, and the difficulty of establishing cause and effect. Furthermore, neither patients nor physicians are legally required to report adverse events to Health Canada.
In 2011, the CBC published an article questioning the safety of Yaz and Yasmin and stated that "...the body of current evidence suggests that the risk of blood clots is 1.5 to 3 times higher with oral contraceptives that contain drospirenone relative to those that contain lovonorgestrel, a different hormone." Health Canada also released alerts in 2011 on the known risk of blood clots associated with Yaz and Yasmin (Health Canada alert 1, Health Canada alert 2). The US FDA also released similar safety communications in 2011 (FDA safety report 1, FDA safety report 2,
The maker of Yaz and Yasmin has already paid over $1 billion in settlements in the United States. There is also active litigation concerning Ocella (drospirenone), the generic form of Yaz and Yasmin. Bayer continues to support Yaz and Yasmin and maintains that both Yaz and Yasmin are as safe as "...any other oral contraceptive on the market" (the CBC).
Listen to CBC's interview on Yaz and Yasmin with Dr. Barbara Mintzes of UBC and Therapeutics Initative: http://www.cbc.ca/player/Radio/Local+Shows/British+Columbia/ID/2390832479/
Yaz, Yasmin Birth Control Pills Suspeted in 23 Deaths
Yasmin, Yaz Birth Control Pills May Increase Clot Risks
Bayer Canada Birth Control Pills Spark Lawsuits After Death
Yasmin and Yaz (drospirenone): Updated Information on Increased Risk of Blood Clots
Health Canada Reviewing Safety of drospirenone-containing Oral Contraceptives (Yasmin and Yaz) and Risk of Venous Thromboembolism
FDA Drug Safety Communication: Safety Review of Possible Increased Risk of Blood Clots with Birth Control Pills Containing Drospirenone
FDA Drug Safety Podcast for Healthcare Professionals: Updated Information about the Risk of Blood Clots in Women Taking Birth Control Pills Containing drospirenone
Is There Still a Role for Spontaneous Reporting of Adverse Drug Reactions? + more on underreporting of adverse drug reactions to Health Canada
Official 2011 Bayer Statement: Bayer Inc. Medical Statement Safety of Hormonal Combined Oral Contraceptives (Yaz, Yasmin)
2013 Bayer Statement: Full Statement from Bayer
United States litigation against Bayer regarding Yaz and Yasmin