Pfizer recalls a million birth control packs

A Pfizer sign hangs on the outside of their headquarters in New York City.

Adriene Hill: Pfizer is asking women to return about a million packs of pills. Apparently, some pills weren't packaged correctly.

Marketplace's Nancy Marshall-Genzer tells us what the recall means for consumers and Pfizer.


Nancy Marshall-Genzer: Birth control pills have to be taken in a certain order to work. They have varying amounts of hormones. And, for days when you're not supposed to get any hormones, some packets contain sugar pills.

Pfizer says some of the recalled packages have sugar pills where there are supposed to be active pills. Or too many sugar pills, or not enough active ones.

So what legal recourse do women have if they became pregnant while taking the recalled pills? Recalls with this much impact often end up in court.

Ira Rheingold is an attorney, and head of the National Association of Consumer Advocates. He thinks some consumers will sue Pfizer. And he says they'd have a pretty good case.

Ira Rheingold: Selling a product that you represent for a certain purpose and in fact, you screw up and in fact it doesn't meet that purpose, really is misrepresentation and deception.

Rheingold says it's not clear what kind of damages consumers could sue for. He says it would be a bit of a stretch to sue for say, child support. But he says a big, expensive class action type of lawsuit is possible.

In Washington, I'm Nancy Marshall-Genzer for Marketplace.

About the author

Nancy Marshall-Genzer is a senior reporter for Marketplace based in Washington, D.C. covering daily news.

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