A major reason women take the birth control pill is to prevent pregnancy. But an alarming new finding proves that there may be a glitch in the system. ABC News reports that more than 100 women in 28 states are suing Qualitest Pharmaceuticals due to pregnancy while on the pill. But exactly how did that even happen?!
The court documents show that the women claim they were given their pills in the wrong order, since the packages were rotated 180 degrees, so sometime during the 21 days when they were supposed to be taking the pills with hormones, they were actually taking the placebo pills, which are supposed to come at the end of the pack during the last seven days.
The women, who filed the case in Philadelphia, are suing for damages including lost income and medical fees, as well as the cost of raising the child through adulthood and college. Before you panic, however, it's important to know that these 3.2 million packs of pills were recalled back in 2011 and include: Cyclafem, Emoquette, Gildess, Orsythia, Previfem, and Tri-Previfem.
Of the lawsuit, Endo Pharmaceuticals told ABC News, "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."
A recent suit was also filed in Georgia, however the U.S. District Judge Steve C. Jones chose not to grant class-action certification, because only 53 of the half-million packs had pills in the wrong order. Laws on this matter vary from state-to-state as well as from person-to-person.
[bctt tweet="5 Tips to Ensure Your Birth Control Pills Are as Effective as Possible"]
“It is not enough that each class member prove that defendants sold a defective product,” Judge Jones said. “Each plaintiff must show in an individualized manner which ‘physical symptoms’ she suffered, her medical history, and whether her use of any allegedly defective product resulted in these physical symptoms or a pregnancy.”
While this is not a common situation, it is still a super scary thought, and furthermore brings up the question as to whether any of us really know how to use birth control completely correctly. Dr. Lauren F. Streicher, MD, Clinical Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern Memorial Hospital said, “There is
a failure rate with birth control pills. It’s 0.1 percent if perfect, but the typical failure rate is 7-8 percent. User-dependent methods [like the Pill] are most likely to have failure rates.”
Dr. Streicher has provided some tips to ensure that you use your birth control pills properly to make them as effective as possible.
1. Make sure you start on the right day.
“The most important thing about hormonal contraception is that you have to be good about taking it,” Dr. Streicher says. “The pill that is most important to not miss is the first pill of the pack.”
2. Use an alarm.
“What I tell people is to set your phone for a reminder time that you will be awake every day of the week, like noon, a time you know you are consistently going to be around,” Dr. Streicher notes. We may wake up at 6am during the week but noon on the weekends, making this even more important.
3. Don’t take days off from the pill.
The most effective route is to take the pill every single day. And continue to take it at the exact same time, too.
4. Buy in bulk.
While some insurance companies don't allow you to buy in bulk, if you can, you should. “Buy a year’s supply so you are never without them,” she explains. “With 12 packs at a time, there’s a lot less of a chance you are going to mess up.” Besides, the lag in time can cause you to have a break in your schedule which can mess with the overall effectiveness.
5. Keep the pills in your wallet.
“Get rid of that big bulky pack and put the pill pack in your wallet — always have it with you,” Dr. Streicher suggests.
Do you think you've been following all of Dr. Streicher's tips?
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