Women want Apotex to pay for unwanted pregnancies

Forty-five women who had turned to Apotex for contraceptives to avoid having children are now looking to the Canadian drugmaker to help them pay for their babies or their abortions after they ended up pregnant.

The women are seeking $800 million (U.S. $778.8 million) in a class-action lawsuit filed Friday, claiming that a packaging foul-up by Apotex led them to take placebos instead of the active birth control pills. Four of them had abortions, according to the French Press Agency.

"Raising a child today costs millions of dollars," Sandy Zaitzeff, a lawyer for the women, told the news service. "In this modern world, people enter into relationships and don't necessarily want to have a child and so should not be burdened with the costs of raising a child."

Elie Betito, director of public and government affairs for Apotex, said today, "It is a legal matter so unfortunately, there is nothing we can say."

Last month Health Canada issued an alert for the Alysena 28 birth control pills, made by Apotex, after it was discovered that some packages contained 14 active contraceptive pills and 14 placebos instead of the 21 active and 7 placebos that they should contain. More than half a million packages were recalled. According to the press service, Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq has ordered an investigation into why it took 5 days after the mistake was found before the public was alerted.

Apotex is not the lone ranger in this kind of litigation. Endo Health Solutionshas been sued by a number of women who got pregnant when that company got birth control pills and placebos out of order in 2011. And other companies, including Novartis' ($NVS) Sandoz unit, Pfizer ($PFE), and Glenmark Pharmaceuticals, have all had to recall contraceptives for similar packaging problems.

- read the Agence France-Presse story