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A bitter pill

Alison McAdams explains how the judgment in X v Schering Health Care Ltd will affect product liability cases

11 October 2002

“The most exhaustive examination that this question has yet received,” said Mackay J, describing the High Court’s investigation into the safety of third generation oral contraceptive pills in X v Schering Health Care Ltd [2002] EWHC 1420. In the most significant product liability judgment of the year, a group of 99 women lost their claim that the pills carried an increased risk of injury. Pill scare A warning letter was sent by the Committee on the Safety of Medicines (CSM) to doctors and pharmacists on 18 October 1995 stating that it had recently become aware of as yet unpublished epidemiological studies on the safety of oral contraceptives in relation to VTE. The studies indicated that combined oral contraceptives containing certain synthetic progestogens were “associated with around a two-fold increase in the risk” of VTE, compared with those containing other progestogens. Advice was given including the fact that these COC3s should not be used by...

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