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Billion-dollar drug Yaz contained deadly ingredient

The U.S. pharmaceutical industry is a billion-dollar business. Besides manufacturing and selling their existing products, drug makers are constantly conducting research to find their next big-selling medicine.

Many of these new medications successfully treat serious illnesses, or provide relief from their symptoms. But sometimes, drug companies release a product before they have sufficiently tested it for side effects. Because patients rely on their doctors and the drug makers to know what is safe for them to take, they can be highly vulnerable to medications that cause them terrible harm.

Case in point: readers may recall the controversy and negative side effects associated with Yaz, a drug also sold under the names Yasmin and Ocella. Soon after Bayer began marketing Yaz as a female contraceptive and effective in treating acne and premenstrual dysphoric disorder, a severe form of PMS, the company began raking in $2 billion a year in sales for this drug alone. Millions of women used it.

Then, scrutiny began. The Food and Drug Administration announced that Bayer exaggerated about Yaz’s effectiveness treating PMDD and acne. More troubling were the reports that began coming in linking Yaz to severe health emergencies like blood clots and heart attacks. Some patients even suffered sudden death.

One of the ingredients, drospirenone, is the cause of many of these terrible reactions. Those who survive may be left with long-term health complications. They likely also have endured a great deal of pain and suffering, along with the costs of recovery, like hospital bills and lost wages.

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