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

Design rendering for the proposed Coldstream Community Centre. An advisory committee will make a decision on the latest site plan Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021. (Sahuri & Associates rendering)
Coldstream committee to review latest designs for new community centre

Design renderings have been released for the centre that would add 84 local child care spaces

A sign indicating a COVID-19 testing site is displayed inside a parking garage in West Nyack, N.Y., Monday, Nov. 30, 2020. The site was only open to students and staff of Rockland County schools in an effort to test enough people to keep the schools open for in-person learning. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
4 more deaths, 54 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

This brings the total to 66 deaths in the region

Vernon now has an approved 13 cannabis shops in town. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Vernon, the ‘Pot capital of B.C.’ greenlights two new stores downtown

Two more shops, within 240 metres, approved, despite neighbouring businesses opposition

One of the two bees sculptures stolen from Vernon’s Planet Bee Honey Farm and Honeymoon Meadery Nov. 22, 2020, was retuned Jan. 26, 2021, thanks to a tip from the public. (Facebook)
Stolen bee returned to Vernon honey farm

Two months after thieves buzzed off with two bee sculptures, public tips led police one of them

Vernon North Okanagan RCMP Superintendent Shawna Baher presents Lisa Rands, of Endbery, a certificate of appreciation after she went above and beyond at the scene of a multi-vehicle collision that closed Highway 97A Jan. 6, 2021, for several hours. (RCMP)
Mounties laud woman for help at fatal crash near Enderby

Vernon RCMP honour Enderby woman for taking care of children involved in collision

Dr. Penny Ballem, a former deputy health minister, discusses her role in leading B.C.’s COVID-19 vaccination program, at the B.C. legislature, Jan. 22, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. holds steady with 407 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday

14 deaths, no new outbreaks in the health care system

11 more cases of COVID-19 have been linked to a cluster on Big White Mountain. Pictured above is TELUS park at Big White Ski Resort, Jan. 26. (Big White Ski Resort)
11 more cases of COVID-19 linked to Big White cluster

This brings the total case count to 225, according to health authorities in a Tuesday update

Jonathon Muzychka and Dean Reber are wanted on Canada-wide warrants. (Courtesy of Victoria Police Department)
Convicted killer, robber at large after failing to return to facility: Victoria police

Dean Reber, 60, and Jonathon Muzychka, 43, may be together

Oliver Elementary School
Former Oliver PAC treasurer charged with fraud returns to court

Belinda Yorke will be in court to fix a date for trial in February

B.C. Premier John Horgan listens during a postelection news conference in Vancouver on Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
30% of B.C. recovery benefit applications held up in manual review

The province says 150 staff have been reassigned to help with manually reviewing applications

Adam Dergazarian, bottom center, pays his respect for Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, in front of a mural painted by artist Louie Sloe Palsino, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Kobe Bryant’s presence remains strong a year after his death

Tuesday marks the grim anniversary of the crash that took their lives

Alexandra “Annabelle” Lee and her grandpa Bryan Weightman enjoyed a shopping spree at the Sicamous Askew’s foods location after Weightman won a draw for a gift card. (Submitted)
Sicamous seven-year-old fills grandparents’ shopping cart after contest win

When her grandparents won an Askew’s Foods gift card, Alexandra Lee got to handle the shopping

Surrey RCMP are investigating after a pedestrian was struck and killed at 183 Street and Highway 10 Friday night. (File photo)
The Brucejack mine is 65 km north of Stewart in northwestern B.C. (Pretivm Photo)
B.C. mine executives see bright gleam in post-COVID future

Low carbon drives demand for copper, steelmaking coal

Most Read