Contraceptive pills associated with 23 deaths in Canada are still being prescribed in Sudbury.

According to documents obtained by CBC News from Health Canada, the drugs Yaz and Yasmin are linked to the deaths of 23 women, who died suddenly from blood clots.

But the Sudbury and District Health Unit will continue to dole out the two contraceptives because Health Canada says the pills are safe— and local professionals can still prescribe them.

The health unit’s manager of Clinical and Family Services said they have no intention of shelving the drug for good.

"Blood clots are a serious side effect to all birth control pills," said Gisele Sbrega.


Bayer stands by its Yaz and Yasmin lines, which are the only birth control pills containing the progestin drospirenone. (CBC)

Benefits outweigh the risks: Health Canada

The risk of blood clots with these products is well known, and a warning is included on the label, Health Canada states.

In 2011, Health Canada issued a warning about Yaz and Yasmin, saying the risk of blood clots with these pills was 1.5 to 3 times higher than with other birth control pills.

"To put this into perspective, if the estimated risk of developing a blood clot among women taking a levonorgestrel-containing birth control pill is 1 in 10,000 women per year, as some studies have estimated, then the risk in women taking a drospirenone birth control pill is about 1.5 to 3 women in 10,000 per year," Health Canada states on its website.

Health Canada maintains the benefits of the drug outweigh the risks.

Sbrega says Yaz and Yasmin aren't prescribed often by the health unit in Sudbury, but they will continue to hand out the pills until Health Canada advises otherwise.

"It all depends on the guidance we receive from Health Canada," she said.

"We are in close contact with them and … at this point they haven't told or informed us to not to use it or recalled [sic] it."

In a written statement to CBC News, Bayer said it is fighting the certification of a Canadian class-action suit that alleges women died or were injured by Yaz and Yasmin.