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)

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

lawsuitpregnancywomen's health

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

This BC Hydro map shows some of the power outages across Northern BC. Many were caused by high winds. (BC Hydro Website)
Power out across much of Northern BC

BC Hydro anticipates some may be without power overnight

Nuxalk elder Caroline Mack, 85, receives her first dose of the Moderna vaccine on Jan. 19, at the Nuxalk Hall. (Caitlin Thompson photo)
First vaccines roll out for Nuxalk elders, hospital staff and long-term care residents

The Moderna vaccine arrived in Bella Coola on Sunday, Jan. 17

Administering naloxone to a person experiencing a benzo-related overdose event won’t help. Naloxone is used to neutralize opioids. (Jenna Hauck/The Progress file photo)
Northern Health warning drug users of potential benzo contamination

The drug does not respond to naloxone, and is being included in street drugs

The ski hill is clearly marked as a no snowmobiling zone, but that hasn’t deterred sledders from ruining it for the second time this season (Patrick Gunderson photo)
Tweedsmuir Ski Hill wrecked by sledders for second time this season

The Club is respectfully requesting snowmobilers stay off the ski hill

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID-19 cases climb to 52 as first vaccinations to begin Jan. 19

VCH has indicated vaccines will be available for off-reserve elders, but has not provided specifics

Syringe is prepared with one of B.C.’s first vials of Pfizer vaccine to prevent COVID-19, Victoria, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 caseload stays steady with 465 more Tuesday

No new outbreaks in health care facilities, 12 more deaths

Cumberland photographer Sara Kemper recently took the top spot in a Canadian Geographic photography contest. Photo by Sara Kemper
B.C. photographer takes top Canadian Geographic photo prize

Sara Kemper shows what home means to her in Comox Valley photo

New Westminster TV production designer, Rick Whitfield, has designed an office in a box for British Columbians in need of a private workspace. (BC Box Office photo)
PHOTOS: B.C. man designs ‘box office’ solution for those working from home

‘A professionally designed workspace on your property, away from the distractions of home’

Chilliwack ER doctor Marc Greidanus is featured in a video, published Jan. 18, 2021, where he demonstrates and describes effectiveness of various styles of masks. (Youtube)
VIDEO: Emergency room doctor runs through pros and cons of various masks

‘We’ve been asked to wear a mask and it’s not that hard,’ Greidanus says.

(Pixabay photo)
VIDEO: Tip to Metro Vancouver transit police helps woman 4,000 km away in Ohio

Sgt. Clint Hampton says transit police were alerted to a YouTube video of the woman in mental distress

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A woman types on her laptop in Miami in a Monday, Dec. 12, 2016, photo illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Wilfredo Lee
British Columbia government lax on cybersecurity practices, auditor reports

The audit did not highlight a specific threat, but it found breaches in cybersecurity are increasing globally

Cranbrook Food Bank coordinator Deanna Kemperman, Potluck Cafe Society executive director Naved Noorani and Sunshine Coast Community Services Society executive director Catherine Leach join B.C.’s new Municipal Affairs Minister Josie Osborne on a video call about B.C. gaming grants, Jan. 19, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. gaming grants reorganized for COVID-19 priorities

Minister highlights community kitchens, food banks

(Pixabay photo)
‘Cocaine bananas’ arrive at Kelowna grocery stores after mix up from Colombia: RCMP

Kelowna RCMP recently concluded an international drug investigation after finding cocaine in local grocers’ banana shipments in 2019

Most Read