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

Surrey Community Leader Awards winners revealed

The 16th CLA awards, presented by the Now-Leader, recognized Surrey’s un-sung heroes

COMMUTER ALERT: Serious pedestrian crash closes Pacific Highway

Traffic along 176th Street, 4th to 8th Avenue, is blocked while Mounties continue to investigate.

MPs meet with Surrey council to discuss RCMP, LRT

Federal government to have quarterly meetings with Surrey

Hogg curious if a new recreation centre is needed in Grandview Heights

South Surrey-White Rock MP to host a Town Hall Meeting tonight

Surrey building that has gathered dust for 20 years is for sale again, with bids sought

Potential sale of the long-vacant 104 Avenue Centre is good news, Surrey Board of Trade CEO says

People flocking to Vancouver Island city to see hundreds of sea lions

Each year the combination of Steller and California sea lions take over Cowichan Bay

Protesters confront Environment Minister in B.C.

Protesters wanting more for killer whales confront Catherine McKenna

Humans reshaping evolutionary history of species around the globe: paper

University of British Columbia researcher had the paper published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society

Toronto ‘carding’ activist Desmond Cole stopped by police in Vancouver

Cole says his experience reveals what daily life is like for black and Indigenous residents

Tubing, skating, light display part of new winter festival in Vancouver

Set to open Nov. 23, the six-week festival will take over Vancouver’s Concord Pacific Centre

Commercial trucks banned from left lane of Coquihalla

B.C.’s Ministry of Transportation has introduced a new program that hopes to prevent accidents and closures on the Coquihalla Highway.

B.C. on track to record same number of overdose deaths as last year

128 people died of overdoses in September, bringing the total to more than 1,100 so far in 2018

B.C. firefighters rescue horse stuck in mud

‘It happens more often than you’d think,’ says deputy chief

Regulatory confusion over ‘toxic’ stink near Abbotsford school

Officials sniffing out which regulators responsible for enforcing compliance at neighbouring property

Most Read