Nightly News | December 08, 2011
BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor: Medical experts have been taking a close look at the new generation of birth control pills , including the one called Yaz , because of studies that show they may be more likely to cause dangerous blood clots than older versions of the pill. Well, today they decided the benefits outweigh the risks. We get the story tonight from our chief medical editor, Dr. Nancy Snyderman .
Dr. NANCY SNYDERMAN reporting: Two of the most popular birth control pills in use, Yaz and Yasmin , were the focus of FDA hearings today about their safety. Several large studies have suggested the rate of blood clots with the hormone cocktail in these pills is higher than the risk from other older contraceptive pills. But in its pre-market testing, Bayer Pharmaceuticals found no increased risk of blood clots .
Ms. JOAN CUMMINS: Do you all think this is some kind of academic debate?
SNYDERMAN: Joan Cummins ' daughter Michelle , an 18-year-old college student taking Yaz , died from a clot in her lungs last year.
Ms. CUMMINS: I need my daughter back and you can't give her back, but you can, you absolutely can, prevent other mothers from coming here with broken hearts.
SNYDERMAN: It's estimated that more than 12 million women in the United States have taken Yaz or Yasmin , more than 100 million worldwide, generating 1.5 billion in sales for Bayer .
SNYDERMAN: The pills are particularly popular among young women , but critic Diana Zuckerman says a change in labeling is not enough.
Ms. DIANA ZUCKERMAN (The National Research Center for Women and Families): I'm very concerned that if they don't take this drug off the market there's going to be even more girls and women harmed in the future.
SNYDERMAN: But not all of today's testimony was critical of these popular medications.
Dr. ANDREA LUKES (Carolina Women's Research and Wellness Center): If you think of the millions of women in the US using oral contraceptives, the effective benefit of Yaz translate into considerable number of women.
SNYDERMAN: The majority of the expert panel this evening voted that the labels both for Yaz and Yasmin should have tighter revisions, but not clear yet what those revisions are going to be. We asked Bayer Pharmaceuticals for a document, any kind of comment, and there is no response yet. So, Brian , all I can say for you tonight is these are likely to stay on the market. There will be some changes. What those changes are going to be or how we prescribe and how they are marketed, those are the things we'll keep our eye on.
WILLIAMS: Lot of patients and customers watching closely.
WILLIAMS: Nancy , thanks, as always.