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Taking birth control for acne has risks. But, do pharmaceutical companies actually acknowledge these risks and publicize them - or do they aggressively market off-label uses for contraceptives?
Nicole, from North Carolina, started taking Yasmin when she was 13. She was prescribed the drug for acne. She died from pulmonary embolisms when she was 15, and her father believes the embolisms were a result of the Yasmin, reports Courthouse News Service.
The two parents have filed separate lawsuits against the manufacturers of Yaz and Yasmin, according to Courthouse News Service and WGHP-TV.
Pfleger, also from North Carolina, started taking Yaz in 2009. She collapsed and died from a blood clot when she was 18 in September 2010, which her mother believes is a result of the contraceptive, reports WGHP-TV.
Often, doctors will prescribe drugs for "off-label" uses, such as in the case of Yasmin and Yaz. Using contraceptives for treating acne is a common occurrence, and doctors often prescribe or recommend birth control pills for acne. According to Nicole's father, Bayer allegedly used television ads to "overstate the efficiency of Yasmin and Yaz and minimize serious risks associated with the drug," reports the Courthouse News Service. Pfleger's parents are alleging that the drugs were too dangerous and did not have adequate warnings, reports WGHP-TV.
However, legally, the pharmaceutical companies are not supposed to be marketing the drugs for off-label uses - like acne treatment if the drug is specifically for birth control.
In response to Pfleger's family's lawsuit, Bayer is asserting that the side effects that Pfleger suffered (namely, the blood clot) are well-known side effects of Yaz that are published and included in the drug's materials, reports the Daily Mail.
So while it's a known fact that birth control for acne has risks, the parents of Brittany Nicole and Michelle Pfleger are not only suing over the risks in the drugs - but also that the pharmaceutical company inappropriately advertised the pills for off-label uses, like the treatment of acne.