A mourning Nova Scotia mother is calling for a type of birth control pill to be pulled from the market after her 18-year-old daughter died while taking it.
Katelynne Fisher died in January 2011 after suffering a massive stroke caused by a blood clot. She was taking the birth control pill Yaz.
"She was only on it for a month...didn’t smoke, didn’t drink. No, she was very healthy," said her mother Lisa Fisher. "I was in a state of shock for a long time. I still am on some days."
CBC News has learned at least 23 Canadian women who were taking Yaz and Yasmin, two of the most commonly prescribed birth control pills in the world, have died.
In 2011, Health Canada issued a warning about Yaz and Yasmin, saying the risk of blood clots, which is rare overall, is 1.5 to 3 times higher with the drospirenone-containing pills than with some other birth control pills.
Both Yaz and Yasmin, which are sometimes called "newer-generation" birth control pills, includes a synthetic progestin, drospirenone, which is exclusive to Bayer. While one in 10,000 women on older birth control pills will develop blood clots, as many as three in 10,000 will develop blood clots on Yaz or Yasmin.
Taking Bayer to court
Fisher said she’s joined a class action lawsuit against Bayer, the maker of the birth control pills, alleging that Yaz and Yasmin have an increased risk of serious side-effects, including blood clots.
"This is a grief like no other. It is a totally unnatural thing to lose your child. It has devastated our family. People should be aware that there is a greater risk with this pill. If you decide the benefits outweigh the risk, then that’s great you’ve made an informed decision. We obviously did not get that chance," said Fisher.
"These girls that went on this pill were not informed. They did not know that it carried a greater risk. No matter how small that is it does carry a greater risk."
Fisher said she wants to see Yaz recalled.
"I think we have so many birth control pills out there that are doing the same thing, used as birth control. So I don't see the need to have anything with a higher risk out there."
While Bayer has already paid more than $1 billion to settle thousands of lawsuits in the U.S., the drug company tells CBC News it stands by its products.