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Defective birth control packaging leads to widespread recall

The decision to have a baby requires parents to consider carefully the needs of the child. Parents will have to devote extensive amounts of resources such as time, affection, and money to care for the child and ensure its healthy development. Men and women in Pennsylvania and around the country may delay having a child because they are not ready to expend those resources.

Whatever the reason people may delay starting a family, birth control measures help them decide when they want to have children. One of the most effective measures is the birth control pill. But a recent recall by Pfizer of 1 million pill packages raises alarms that some of the packages may contain defective drugs and do not prevent conception.

Last week, Pfizer announced that a mistake in packaging left some packages with too many active pills and others with too few. The pills' contraceptive effectiveness depends on careful regulation of hormones, and they must be taken in a specified order. The error means that even if women took the pills according to the package's instructions, they might stand at an increased risk of becoming pregnant.

This has led to speculation about whether a woman who became pregnant as a result of the packaging defect could sue to seek compensation. According to a law professor, other so-called "wrongful pregnancy" cases have been litigated before over improperly performed vasectomies and an instance where a pharmacist incorrectly filled out a woman's birth control medicine.

This is an interesting drug recall case and bears watching for further developments.

Source: Time, "Pfizer Birth Control Recall: Could Women Who Get Pregnant Sue?" Bonnie Rochman, Feb. 3, 2012.

PA | Eisenberg
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