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Women sue birth control company due to packaging error on product

More than 100 women are seeking legal action against a drug manufacturer, claiming that they became pregnant as a result of improperly packaged birth control pills.

Court documents confirm that the women did take the contraceptive correctly, but the pills failed to prevent pregnancy as the package was rotated 180 degrees; this means that the women were taking placebo pills that were meant to be taken during their menstrual cycle as opposed to the pills that actually contained pregnancy-preventing hormones.

The accused manufacturer is Qualitest Pharmaceuticals, a generic drug manufacturer. Qualitest Pharmaceuticals is a subsidiary of Endo Pharmaceuticals Inc., an Irish drug maker which houses its U.S. headquarters in Pennsylvania. In 2011, Endo Pharmaceuticals voluntarily recalled multiple lots of the product due to the previously mentioned packaging error, according to the FDA. However, earlier attempts at a legal against the company stemming from the 2011 recall were all turned down.

Ninety-four of the women who became pregnant while using the contraceptive chose to carry the pregnancy to term while an additional 14 did not. Two others, who are currently not pregnant, have also chosen to take part in the lawsuit.

Now, according to the lawsuit filed in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia, over 100 hundred women from 28 states are seeking millions of dollars in damages in order to compensate for lost wages, child-rearing expenses, and various forms of personal pain and suffering. Oregon-law states that “child-rearing expenses” also include the coverage of education until the child reaches adulthood at 18. Forty-one states also acknowledge “wrongful pregnancy” or “wrongful conception” as a cause of action, but this typically refers to sterilization errors as opposed to contraceptive manufacturers.

An article published by The Huffington Post says that the account includes several “gut-wrenching” cases, including a military client who gave her baby up for adoption because she was getting ready to be deployed.

Endo Pharmaceuticals spokeswoman Heather Zoumas-Lubeski says that she is aware of the complaint but will not comment on “pending or ongoing litigation.” She did reiterate that there have been no recalls of the contraceptive since the 2011 incident.

“The voluntary recall occurred based on an extremely small number of pill packs that were manufactured by an external contract manufacturer. Endo has been able to confirm only one blister pack that manifested a defect and was sold to a patient,” Zoumas-Lubeski said. A court document states that 3.2 million pill packs manufactured by the company were recalled that year.

In a closing statement released by Endo Pharmaceuticals, Zouma-Lubeski emphasized that “patient safety is our (Endo Pharmaceutical’s) top priority.” The case continues to unfold.


About Cindy Pereira

Cindy Pereira
Cindy Pereira is a recent graduate of the Professional Writing program formerly offered at Grant MacEwan University in Edmonton, Canada. When she isn't dishing out the news, she can be found scrawling poetry, watching films, and drinking copious amounts of tea.