While birth control pills are known to be one of the most effective methods of preventing pregnancy, one Missouri mother was upset to find that her pack wasn’t effective at all.
Shanta Russell, 33, is suing Qualitest Pharmaceuticals after she became pregnant from taking a pack of ineffective birth control pills.
When she took a pregnancy test in 2011, she was shocked to discover its positive result, as she had taken the pills religiously for more than 12 years.
A couple months later she discovered what had happened. The pharmaceutical company sent her a recall notice telling her that the birth control pills were mistakenly put in the wrong order in the pack, meaning the placebo pills meant for the last week were put in the first three weeks.
She gave birth to a baby girl in early 2012 and filed a lawsuit in February seeking money to raise her child.
Before having the baby, she said she worked two jobs and planned to be a mother in the very distant future.
Russell wants the pharmaceutical company to pay for health care costs, expenses from raising the girl and damages for emotional pain caused by the unwanted pregnancy.
She’s also suing the pharmaceutical’s parent company and the firm who packaged the pills.
“I was devastated,” she said. “I questioned myself. After all these years, how could this happen? Then I received a letter in the mail. Of course I was angry. There was nothing I did that was a mistake.”
They weren’t the only company that recalled millions of birth control packs. After they announced the error, other companies like Pfizer, Glenmark Generics and Sandoz also announced the same problem. Combined, the mess up likely resulted in hundreds of pregnancies.
Russell isn’t the only woman filing a lawsuit. Women in California, Tennessee and Texas are also suing the company after they, too, became pregnant.
“When you have a kid, you have to rearrange your life,” Russell said. “You have to cut back on things.”
Despite not wanting the pregnancy, she loves her daughter and can’t imagine life without her.
“She has an amazing personality. She’s the happiest child. She’s the most precious thing that ever happened. I can’t live without her.”