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Lawsuit claims that labelling error caused unwanted pregnancies

Nov 16, 2015 | Medication Errors

Many women in New York rely on contraceptive pills to prevent unwanted pregnancies, but a strict schedule must be followed if the drugs are to be effective. The Alabama-based pharmaceutical company Qualitest recalled several of its birth control pills in 2012 after discovering that they had been labelled incorrectly, and the company is now facing litigation from 111 women who claim that the error led to unwanted pregnancies. The company is also being sued by two women who did not become pregnant.

The pills work by using either one or both of the hormones progestin and estrogen to prevent eggs being fertilized by fooling the body into believing that it is already pregnant. The pills must be taken at the same time every day, and placebo pills are provided to be taken during the patient’s menstrual cycle. The lawsuit claims that the mislabeling led to the women taking placebo pills when they should have been receiving hormones.

The lawsuit could be a costly one for Qualitest and its parent company Endo Pharmaceuticals. Some of the women involved say that the unwanted pregnancies impacted their careers, and others are seeking compensation for the cost of raising a child. The Department of Agriculture estimated in 2013 that American parents spend an average of $245,000 to raise a child to adulthood.

Litigation stemming from prescription medication errors can be complex, and the defendants in such cases often have considerable resources at their disposal. Doctors, hospitals, insurance companies and pharmaceutical manufacturers are rarely eager to admit to their mistakes, and attorneys with experience in this area may call upon experts to establish that negligence occurred. Attorneys could also assess the merits of a medical malpractice claim and explain the steps involved in pursuing civil remedies.