Taylor MacKinnon is a 23 year-old Victoria woman who discovered she was pregnant shortly after she heard of a recall of her birth control brand, Alesse. She has now filed a class action lawsuit against the pharmaceutical company, Pfeizer, which is responsible for the brand. (FILE CONTRIBUTED)

Pregnant B.C. woman files lawsuit after birth control fail

Pregnancy detected two weeks after a Alesse recall announcement

A Vancouver Island woman has filed a class action lawsuit against a Canadian pharmaceutical company after hearing about a recall of her birth control brand and discovering she was pregnant.

Taylor MacKinnon, a 23-year-old woman from Victoria, was taking Alesse 21, a prescribed oral contraceptive that she had been taking since 2014 without any pregnancies.

On December 1, 2017, Pfeizer Canada Inc. released a recall notice saying that some packages of Alesse 21 and Alesse 28 might contain broken or smaller than usual pills which would reduce their effectiveness. In an announcement from Health Canada, the products affected included Alesse 21 pills from lot A2532 and Alesse 28 from lot A3183, though it was not known at the time if other lots were affected.

MacKinnon heard of the announcement on Dec. 6, 2017 and discovered she was pregnant Dec. 16, 2017. She has decided to carry the pregnancy, and she and her partner are expecting a daughter in August.

According to MacKinnon’s lawyer, Anthony Leoni of Rice Harbut Elliott LLP, MacKinnon did not take pills from the specifically-mentioned lots, but claims that there is a risk that other lots could be affected. He also said she would not have chosen to continue taking Alesse if she had known about the recall earlier.

Leoni said the unintended pregnancy is part of a larger story of women’s reproductive rights, and that the company’s approach to the recall was negligent and a failure to properly warn women.

“This has been an impact on her career choices,” Leoni said. “Reproductive health is a playing field between men and women with what they can choose to do with their life and careers. This is what was taken away from women who take Alesse. “

Leoni noted that while there’s always a risk in taking birth control pills, Alesse claims the chances of unexpected pregnancies when taking the pills as directed is less than one per cent.

“We want to establish that the risk was much greater with these lots,” Leoni said.

The law generally does not cover damages for the lifetime cost of raising a child, but Leoni said the lawsuit is still pursuing compensation for damages for the disruption to MacKinnon’s life as a result of the unplanned pregnancy.

In order for the class action lawsuit to carry forward, at least one other woman needs to come forward with a similar claim.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com

Just Posted

Voter turnout rises in Salmon Arm and Sicamous municipal elections

A greater percentage of voters made it to the polls on Saturday than they did in 2014.

Mayoral results from across B.C.

Voters in 162 municipalities in B.C. set to elect mayor, council, school board and more

ELECTION NIGHT: Mayor-elect Alan Harrison expresses gratitude

Longtime councillor Alan Harrison is Salmon Arm’s new mayor, defeating incumbent Nancy Cooper

Every vote counts: 10 tightest races in B.C.’s municipal elections

Peachland saw their election decided by just one vote

Four incumbents will return to Sicamous council

Councillors Bushell, Makayev, Anderson, and Mallmes will return to their roles for four more years

The Valley Votes: Your election results

The results are in from the 2018 municipal election.

B.C. Youtuber to seal himself ‘in a jar’ to demonstrate impacts of climate change

Kurtis Baute wants to see how long he can last in a 1,000 cubic foot, air-tight greenhouse

One of Taiwan’s fastest trains derails, killing at least 18

The train was carrying more than 360 people

Scheer marks one-year countdown to federal election with campaign-style speech

Conservative Leader insists that it will be Justin Trudeau who ‘makes it personal’

Canada Post union announces rotating strikes in four Canadian cities

Mail will still be delivered but it will be delayed

Book capture’s baby boomer’s joy of being a grandmother

Author Pauline Daniel launches novel at Salmon Arm library Monday, Oct. 22

Most Read