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Health Insight March 2002: Contraceptive pill companies sued


A test case involving more than 100 women who say they were exposed to potentially lethal side effects of the third generation contraceptive pill has started at the High Court. Three pharmaceutical companies, Schering Healthcare, Organon Laboratories and Wyeth are being sued in a legal challenge being brought under the Consumer Protection Act. Lawyers representing the women and their families claim that the women were not warned of the possible dangers of the pill. They claim that it caused them to develop blood clots, which led to long-term damage to their health, and in around 10% of cases proved fatal.

The case is the first of its type and, if successful, could lead to massive compensation payouts, expected to total about 10m. The litigation, involving some claims brought on behalf of women who have died, will focus on seven individual cases. Lord Brennan QC told the court the increased risk of third generation pills had featured in a major debate among epidemiology experts, as well as among regulatory authorities such as the World Health Organization.

Source: BBC Online

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