Pfizer, Inc., an American multinational pharmaceutical conglomerate, and the maker of many popular drugs such as Lipitor and Viagra, had better hope that the latter of those inventions doesn’t exacerbate the already enormous concern caused by their latest product recall.
According to a recent report by MSNBC, Pfizer is recalling more than 1 million packets of birth control pills because of a packaging error; apparently a number of the 28-count blister packs contain an incorrect amount of inactive or active ingredient tablets and the tablets might be in the wrong order. Because the contraceptive pills can’t be taken as intended – despite no fault on the part of the consumer – the risk of unwanted pregnancies is increased. As a result, Pfizer could be made to answer to Illinois personal injury lawsuits resulting from the error.
The pills affected, Lo/Ovral-28 is intended to be taken each day; they contain Levonorgestrel, a second-generation synthetic progestogen that is a common active ingredient in hormonal birth controls and emergency contraceptive pills. The active-ingredient pills, taken for the first three weeks, are white-ish in color, while the inactive pills, taken for the last week to help women keep track of when they should begin their next pack of pills, are pinkish.
Nevertheless, Pfizer found that some packages of the drugs had too many active pills, while other packages had too few. A spokeswoman for Pfizer stated in conjunction with the recall-notice that the mistake was caused by failures with both mechanical and visual inspection. It appears that the issues have since been resolved.
The risk of pregnancy increases based on the number of active-ingredient pills missed: if a patient takes the inactive pills instead of the active pills, the potential for unwanted pregnancy can likewise be amplified.
Illinois product liability law is an area of personal injury law that focuses on dangerous and defective products; it is the area of law in which manufacturers, distributors, retailers, and others who manufacture and disseminate goods to the public are held responsible for the injuries caused by those products. “Products” in this instance covers a wide range of categories, including medical devices and pharmaceuticals.
In fact, and as it pertains to this case, Illinois products liability law dictates that when corporations manufacture a product, especially in cases of pharmaceutical production, they have a responsibility to test that product to ensure its safety and effectiveness before the product is put on the market and sold to consumers. This is especially true for companies that produce medicine, and whose products must undergo extensive testing before they are distributed to consumers. When a company makes a product that is flawed and that product harms the person using the product, the company may be held legally responsible for the customer’s injuries.
In this particular case, Pfizer had a duty to ensure that their drugs were packaged properly. If a consumer has an unwanted pregnancy, Pfizer may made to pay a wide variety of damages, including such things as medical and hospital expenses, and potentially even damages resulting from the infliction of emotional distress.
According to MSNBC, U.S. pharmacists filled 38.9 million birth control prescriptions in the first six months of last year.;A total of 78.6 million prescriptions were filled in 2010. Fortunately the particular pill type in question is one of the less popular form of birth control so fewer patients are affected. Nevertheless, the injuries resulting from this mistake have the potential to be devastating or life altering. If you or a loved one has been affected by the recall of Lo/Ovral-28, contact an attorney to better understand your rights under the law.