KC woman joins mothers suing Qualitest over unwanted pregnancies

Back in 2011, Qualitest Pharmaceuticals recalled several lots of birth control pills because they may have been packaged in the wrong order. And with hormonal contraceptives, taking the right pill on the right day is crucial. Within months, one drugmaker after another pulled contraceptive pills because of similar packaging errors.

When problems with drugs happen, what usually follows? Lawsuits. As the recalls mounted, the question was whether parents might successfully sue over unwanted or unexpected pregnancies. And now, a Kansas City single mother has joined the handful of women who are trying.

Plaintiff Shanta Russell sued Qualitest and its parent company Endo Health Solutions for healthcare costs, child-rearing expenses and other damages. Russell was working two jobs and planning to go back to school when she got pregnant, the Kansas City Star reports; she wasn't planning to have a baby. And nor were the other women who've sued Qualitest in several states, including California and Texas.

None of the suits has yet come to trial, so there's no way of knowing whether the packaging errors will end up costing drugmakers millions in damages. The lead attorney in a proposed class action in Georgia, Keith Bodoh, told the Star that he was in talks with Qualitest, but couldn't comment further.

If the Qualitest plaintiffs succeed, then what of the other drugmakers who recalled their contraceptives for similar reasons? Novartis' ($NVS) Sandoz unit, Pfizer ($PFE), and Glenmark Pharmaceuticals could find themselves open to damages, too. No question that their legal teams are keeping a close eye on the Qualitest litigation.

- see the Star story