The trendy Yaz and Yasmin birth control pills are unlike any others because they contain a new synthetic hormone, drospirenone. Bayer has aggressively marketed the drugs, especially to young Yazwomen, as a cure for everything from acne to pre-menstrual syndrome. Unfortunately, Bayer did not adequately test the drug before bringing it to market, and it now ignores two studies on Dutch and Danish women suggesting that the drugs are more dangerous than other birth control pills that don’t contain the synthetic hormone. 

Women who take Yaz or Yasmin have suffered a list of harmful side effects. One of the most common is blood clots. Blood clots may lead to debilitating strokes, pulmonary emboli and heart attacks. Women on Yaz or Yasmin have also been stricken by disease and damage to the gallbladder, liver, and pancreas, among other conditions.

The Food and Drug Administration has now decided that Bayer’s television commercials were misleading, because they undersold the risks of the drug while at the same time overstating its benefits. In addition, the consumer protection group Public Citizen warns all women against using either Yaz or Yasmin, and instead suggests sticking to a pill that does not contain drospirenone.

Yaz and Yasmin are no more effective than traditional birth control drugs, but they appear to be more dangerous. Nonetheless, because of Bayer’s aggressive and misleading advertising, they are now Bayer’s most popular drugs. In fact, the drugs are the most popular birth control pills in the world. Last year alone, Bayer sold $1.8 billion worth of Yaz and Yasmin .

Not surprisingly, with that type of money on the line, Bayer continues to promote the drugs, regardless of their risks.