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Experts debate the safety of newer oral contraceptives

oral contraceptive death

Medical experts in the U.S. and around the world are beginning to review the safety of newer forms of oral contraceptive pills. The safety of these potentially dangerous pharmaceuticals has been debated due to the risk of blood clots and strokes they pose. Some studies have shown that newer, third- and fourth-generation birth control pills actually double the risk of a woman experiencing a blood clot. The risk of stroke appears to be the same.

French health regulators recently decided to stop allowing its state-backed insurers to reimburse the prescription costs of third-generation birth control pills. That country's health ministry continues to study the efficacy of the pills and debate whether to limit their use in the country entirely.

The French move comes weeks after a lawsuit brought by a 25-year-old woman who was left partially paralyzed after suffering a stroke while taking the third-generation birth control pill Meliane. The woman sued a French health official and the German pharmaceutical giant Bayer.

Reuters reports that Bayer has already agreed to pay $750 million to settle almost 3,500 pharmaceutical product liability claims related to its Yazmin birth control pills. The drugmaker has also set aside another $260 million to settle outstanding Yaz lawsuits.

Source: Reuters, "France may curb use of riskier oral contraceptives," Jan. 3, 2012

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