Lawsuit Alleges Birth Control Packing Error Led to Unwanted Pregnancies

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NEW YORK (ABC) — More than 100 women are suing Qualitest Pharmaceuticals for allegedly mispackaged birth control pills that they say resulted in unwanted pregnancies.

The 113 women, from 28 states, are seeking millions in damages, with some asking for the total cost of raising a child until adulthood, including education.

Birth-control pills, which contain estrogen and progesterone, prevent the release of an egg by fooling the body to believe it has already done so.

According to the lawsuit, the birth control pills made by Qualitest, a subsidiary of Endo Pharmaceuticals, were packaged in the wrong order, “rotated 180 degrees … reversing the weekly tablet orientation.”

As a result, the women say they took placebo sugar pills — which are intended for the week of menstruation — at the wrong time of the month, leaving them “without adequate contraception.”

In September 2011, the packaging error prompted Qualitest to announce a voluntary recall of eight brands of birth-control pills. At the time, Qualitest said the error had caused the weekly tablet orientation to be reversed and had obscured the pills’ lot numbers and expiration dates on certain packages.

In a statement to ABC News, Endo Pharmaceuticals said:

“Our commitment is to patient safety and we take product quality very seriously. … There is no new or recent product recall. The recall that forms the basis of this suit was entirely voluntary and occurred more than four years ago in September 2011. 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. Additionally, courts have dismissed cases arising out of the recall because the plaintiff could not establish that she purchased a defective package.”

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