Women Sue Birth Control Companies for Unexpected Pregnancies

Drug recall lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm announce that hundreds of women recently filed lawsuits stemming from the 2011 recalls of Qualitest, Pfizer, Glenmark, and Sandoz birth control pills.

Shanta Russell, like millions of American women, took her birth control pills correctly and religiously for more than a decade without any problems. Suddenly, in June 2011, she suspected she may be pregnant, which was confirmed with several positive tests. She was stunned, confused, and unprepared to carry and raise a child. She wondered how, after a decade of regular use, her contraceptives suddenly failed.

The pills Russell took were manufactured by Qualitest, which is a subsidiary of Endo Health Solutions based in Alabama. A few months after she confirmed her pregnancy, Russell received a letter from Qualitest in the mail informing her that her birth control pills may have been placed in the wrong order during manufacturing, rendering them ineffective. Russell’s shock and confusion quickly turned to anger as she realized that her pregnancy was the result of defective manufacturing processes.

Similar birth control recalls were issued by Pfizer, Glenmark Generics, and Sandoz in the ensuing months, and affected millions of packages. The recalls were due to defective blister packs, which were distributed to warehouses and pharmacies across the country. Officials said the defaults were inevitable, and the consequence of ineffective federal monitoring over pharmaceutical manufacturing factories.

Russell is now 33 years-old and a single mother to a one year-old girl. She, along with hundreds of other women who became pregnant while taking the birth control pills, filed a lawsuit against Qualitest, its parent company, Endo, and the corporation responsible for the faulty blister packs. The plaintiffs are seeking compensation for medical bills, emotional distress, and the immense costs of raising and educating a child. Of the more than 200 women involved in the birth control lawsuit, many had to drop out of all levels of schooling, some had to give their babies up for adoption, and others were forced to have abortions.

Before her daughter was born, Russell worked two jobs and traveled around the world. She was planning on going back to school in the health care field. Today, she no longer has time for both jobs, won’t be able to return to school soon, and had to rearrange her finances so she can pay for clothes, day care, diapers and doctor appointments. She no longer travels, but loves her daughter unconditionally.

Blister packs, when working correctly, provide the hormone pills for the first 21 days of a woman’s reproductive cycle. These pills contain two hormones: progestin and estrogen, which block eggs from being released, therefore blocking any possibility of fertilization. For the last seven days of a woman’s cycle, the hormone pills are replaced by placebos, usually sugar pills, which mark the week the woman has her period.

Due to the packaging errors, the placebo pills were mistakenly placed during the first seven days of the woman’s cycle, when she should have been taking the hormone pills. This rendered the medication largely ineffective, as evidenced by the hundreds of unexpected pregnancies.

Many are placing blame on the FDA, saying the federal agency does not have enough resources to adequately and regularly inspect manufacturing plants. Lack of regular inspections inevitably leads to defects, recalls, injuries, and even deaths. Foreign manufacturing plants are inspected even less regularly, even though they produce most of the pharmaceuticals coming into the US. In fact, three of the four birth control recalls came from foreign plants. Fortunately, laws passed in 2012 will require the FDA to inspect foreign plants at the same rate as domestic ones, and increases manufacturing fees to give the FDA more money for those inspections.

Drug recall lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm urge consumers to report any unusual pill discoloration or defects immediately if found in medications. The sooner defects are reported, the sooner they can be recalled. If you or someone you love was seriously injured by defective drugs or products, you have important legal rights, and may be entitled to compensation.

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