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Birth control pill ‘with adverse side affects’ still on sale in Nairobi

By JACQUELINE KUBANIA

A day after Bayer Pharmaceuticals was sued in Germany for adverse effects caused by its contraceptive pill, Yasminelle, the drug is still on sale in chemists in Nairobi.

A spot check by the Daily Nation revealed that the drug, which retails under the name Yasmin, is sold without a prescription and is still recommended as an effective and safe form of birth control. A pack of 21 pills costs an average of Sh1,000.

The Germany drug maker, which also manufactures Aspirin, has been sued by Ms Felicitas Rohrer, who says the drug caused her to have a pulmonary embolism – a blockage of the lung’s main artery or one of its branches by a substance that has travelled from elsewhere in the body through the bloodstream. She wants the company to pay her Sh22 million in damages.

HEALTH COMPLICATIONS

According to a story carried by AFP, this is not the first time that Bayer has ran into legal trouble over the same drug. AFP reported that “the company has already paid nearly $2 billion dollars to around 10,000 women in out-of-court settlements in the US to avoid long and costly trials.”

In Ms Rohrer’s case, doctors found massive blood clots blocking her heart and they said that Yasmin is to blame. It has been reported that 250 other women have recorded testimonies complaining of similar health complications.

But according to the Kenya Pharmacy and Poisons Board Chairman Kipkerich Koskei, no adverse reactions have been reported as a result of using Yasmin in Kenya.

“We have 15,000 trained health workers in the field to check for adverse drug reactions. So far nobody has reported any health complications,” Koskei said.

He also said that the contraceptive is only supposed to be sold when prescribed by a doctor.