As we previously reported, Pfizer recalled 1 million packages of birth control pills, that included 14 lots of Lo/Ovral-28 tablets and 14 lots of generic Norgestrel and Ethinyl Estradiol tablets. The recall was after uncovering a packaging error that included too many active tablets in some packets and not enough in others. It cautioned women to use alternate contraceptive methods because they were at greater risk of becoming pregnant.
In a statement, the company said that the recalled pills don’t pose “any immediate health risks.” But, that, of course, depends completely upon how you define “health risks.”
Assuming you’re taking the pills to avoid having a baby but end up faced with what to do about an unwanted pregnancy, the ensuing stress could arguably count as a mental health risk, at the least.
After the recall The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) stressed that the packaging error can impact the daily regimen for these oral contraceptives, rendering the regimen incorrect and leaving women with inadequate contraception protection. Patients in possession of the recalled birth control should utilize another form of birth control and notify their physicians.
But, what if it’s too late? Would they be able to sue, if they had an unwanted pregnancy?
According to experts familiar with the matter, women who become pregnant after taking the defective birth control pills could sue Pfizer for their unwanted pregnancies, and could sue big, wrote My Health News Daily.
This would not be the first example of a “wrongful pregnancy” case, according to I. Glenn Cohen, assistant professor and co-director of the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics at Harvard Law School, who spoke with MyHealthNewsDaily. He said, “Similar cases have allowed people to sue for things like unwanted pregnancies after botched vasectomies. In the past, there has even been a case in which a woman successfully sued a pharmacist for a pregnancy that resulted from errors in filling the woman’s birth control prescriptions.”
“The best chance for a case, however, would be for affected women with unwanted pregnancies to band together and bring a class-action lawsuit against Pfizer,” said Arthur Caplan, a bioethicist at the University of Pennsylvania.
“Such a case could ask for considerably more money than an individual case, and would be more attractive to lawyers, Caplan said.”
“I’m sure some enterprising lawyer is already thinking of bringing a class-action lawsuit…against the company,” Cohen said.
Awards would depend on location. Cohen noted that 32 states recognize “wrongful pregnancy cases,” in which a healthy baby is born from an unwanted pregnancy. Most, said Cohen, allow damages related to the cost of the pregnancy; some consider emotional distress and lost time from work, and some allow for economic expenses related to raising the child for 18 years, which can translate into hundreds of thousands of dollars per case. Should such a class action be filed, “that’s a lot of money,” Cohen said, wrote My Health News Daily. Giving birth to an unhealthy baby due to the defective drugs could result in a “wrongful birth” lawsuit, wrote My Health News Daily.
Only time will tell, what will become of the mix up, and if this recall will end up costing Pfizer a whole lot in the long run!