What you really need to know about that birth control pill lawsuit

When used as directed, birth control can do some amazing things: Give you clearer skin, lower your risk of developing certain cancers, and, of course, prevent pregnancy. But according to a group of women in a new lawsuit spanning 28 states, their birth control didn’t work due to a mistake by a manufacturer. As a result, many of them are now living with the diaper-wearing consequences.

Filed in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia on Tuesday, CNN reports thats the lawsuit and its 113 plaintiffs allege that the mislabeling of six birth control brands (Cyclafem, Emoquette, Gildess, Orsythia, Previfem and Tri-Previfem) by Endo Pharmaceuticals led to 94 unplanned pregnancies resulting in the birth of a child and 17 unplanned pregnancies that were not carried to term.

As a result, the group of women, including two women who did not get pregnant, are requesting millions in damages for not only the emotional impact of the mistake, but the long-term financial impact of raising a child they hadn’t planned for.

Back in September 2011, manufacturer Qualitest Pharmaceuticals placed the labeling on dozens of blister packs upside down, leading these women to take placebos when they first began using their packs, rather than the hormonal pills that would have prevented pregnancy.

Once the problem was identified, Endo Pharmaceuticals voluntarily recalled 3.2 million birth control packs via the FDA, a move that usually might be enough, but at the time the FDA claimed the mislabeling did not pose an immediate health risk. And post-recall, Endo Pharmaceuticals representatives say that only one defective birth control pack ever turned up.

Figuring out where things went wrong on the path from mislabeling to recall will be the crux of the women’s case. Their legal representation will need to prove that it was only the mislabeling that caused their unplanned pregnancies and that they were using the aforementioned brands at the time. From there, the amount in childcare costs, which varies by state, and the cost of emotional damage would need to be determined.

And all that only happens if the judge decides that this case has legs —which we hope is the case.

(Image via iStock)