Class action lawsuit against Alesse to include those who took the birth control between 2017 and 2019
VANCOUVER – A national class action lawsuit against the drug companies behind Alesse birth control is being filed in British Columbia courts.
Two women, Taylor Janet MacKinnon and Alysa McIntosh, who say they became pregnant while taking Alesse, are leading the lawsuit, which was certified as a class action by a BC Supreme Court judge this week.
In the documents, both women tell their stories of unexpected pregnancies, one of which miscarried and the other eventually gave birth to a child. They claim the companies have been “self-employed, wanton and reckless” in producing and re-marketing a pill that they say was ineffective.
Individuals from all over Canada who were prescribed and taken Alesse between January 1, 2017 and April 30, 2019 are eligible to join the lawsuit, which is being advised by attorneys from Vancouver law firm Rice Harbut Elliott, among others.
Before a class action can be heard, a judge must first agree that the case should be classed as a class action.
“In this lawsuit, plaintiffs allege that Defendants, Pfizer Canada Inc. and Wyeth Canada, negligently failed to take reasonable steps to ensure that Alesse was safe and effective for its intended purpose,” the judgment dated Jan. Action.
While the judge’s verdict means the class action lawsuit can be continued and supported by other Alesse users, the allegations against the drug’s manufacturers have not been proven in court.
The women say there were “manufacturing defects in Alesse” between 2017 and 2019, which is partially confirmed by an opinion from Health Canada in December 2017, the ruling said. The agency notified consumers that it had received complaints about broken and undersized pills in packs of Alesse 21 and Alesse 28, and issued a warning.
MacKinnon has been taking Alesse for several years to prevent pregnancy and says she always took it as directed. At the beginning of December 2017, her pharmacist instructed the recall and asked her to check her pills for abnormalities. However, about 10 days later, she found that she was five weeks pregnant.
MacKinnon claims she contacted Health Canada and Pfizer to let her know what happened, but that didn’t give her much information.
She gave birth to a daughter about nine months later. She was 24 at the time of birth and says the early and unexpected pregnancy caused both financial and professional instability.
“MacKinnon says that one day she wanted children, but not at such a young age,” said the judge’s verdict.
“She would have preferred if she and her partner had been professionally established and financially more stable before they had children … she did not find a job as a qualified dental assistant after the birth of her daughter.”
Meanwhile, McIntosh, who had been taking Alesse for about 11 months – also as directed – discovered in late October 2017 that she was pregnant, only to miscarry in early December when the fetus was about nine weeks old.
Lawyers had packs of Alesse tested by a lab who found that some of the pills did not contain the amount of estrogen that was stated on the packaging. The pills tested weren’t even the visibly broken or damaged pills Health Canada warned about.
“Plaintiffs say that it can be concluded that if the pills were broken or broken, the estrogen levels would be even lower … (and the) tests show problems with estrogen levels in excess of broken or broken pills,” the ruling said.
According to the ruling, attorneys say 138 people contacted them to take part in the case, and Health Canada has a list of 38 people who have had birth control issues. The overlap between the two lists is not yet known, and the class action notice is not yet widespread.
Both women say the companies acted negligently and are demanding financial compensation. They also claim that by continuing to market Alesse, despite the recalls and known issues, the companies have misled and misled consumers.
But the companies deny any wrongdoing. While the complainants rely on three experts who say that the lower levels of estrogen would likely reduce Alesse’s effectiveness in preventing pregnancy, one expert from the companies disagrees. According to the verdict, that expert will argue that the reduced amount of estrogen in the pills was “within an acceptable range” that “has no effect on pregnancy rates”.
The companies also argue that the amount of estrogen in their pills was within a Health Canada accepted range.
The judge notes that the women and others competing in the class action lawsuit may have difficulty proving that the pills had decreased effectiveness, but said they provided enough information to be certified and proceed with their case .
Provincial health services from across the country are also part of the class action lawsuit and will seek to reimburse health care costs related to the alleged negligence of Pfizer and Wyeth.