Friday, February 10, 2012

After massive uproar, Obama administration gives in on requiring religious institutions to provide coverage for contraception.

With a divided White House staff having weighed in publicly on the issue, President Obama announced today in a press conference a compromise that both Planned Parenthood and the Catholic Health Association approved of regarding employee coverage for contraception.

The compromise would allow for women to obtain birth control directly from their insurance companies rather than requiring religious institutions like Catholic hospitals and universities to provide free contraception.


Vice President Joe Biden and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, both Catholics, were very opposed to the initial proposal of requiring Catholic institutions to provide free contraception. At issue was whether employers should be required to broaden the scope of their coverage to include medication or procedures that violate some of their core tenants. While proponents of such a measure argue that Catholic hospitals and universities employ many non-Catholics, opponents argue that the employees are aware they are working for a Catholic institution with a Catholic mission. Also, many of the hospitals and universities in the United States are private or religiously affiliated, and would not want such mandates as part of their health coverage for their employees. Such a requirement may significantly change the dynamic of health care employers.

While their has been a massive backlash by various organizations against this law and the administration for its support of it, the Obama administration has recently voiced its confidence that the issue would be resolved. Other lawmakers, such as Senator John Kerry, also a Catholic and opposed to the mandate, believed it would be resolved. Today, President Obama announced that a compromise had been reached, but time will tell whether the debate will continue and whether all parties will be satisfied. While proponents of the language believe that President Obama has once again caved to the right, and in this case the religious right, Catholic Bishops and other organizations may decide that the compromise does not go far enough.

Posted by Attorney Saif R. Kasmikha

Midwest Legal Partners, LLC

Pfizer Recalls 1 million Birth Control Pills- Both sides brace themselves for potential lawsuits and legal arguments

More than 1 million packets of birth control pills are being recalled after packages were made with the incorrect dosage of active and inactive tablets. The pills themselves are not dangerous, but taking the incorrect dosage could lead to unwanted pregnancies. The affected drugs include Lo/Ovral-28 tablets and generic Norgestrel and Ethinyl Estradiol tablets that have expiration dates ranging between July 31, 2013, and March 31, 2014. It was a packaging problem rather than a safety issue, and Pfizer claims that the problem was promptly corrected.

News outlets have reported on the recall as well.

Many women taking this pill could potentially be pregnant, but does this mean that Pfizer needs to rush to the phone to contact every woman who has taken the pill and start talking settlement? This is one of the many questions the legal experts are now exploring, with mass tort and product liability attorneys in a frenzy to execute an effective marketing plan to bring in the clients.

Experts have offered differing opinions on the viability of a case that may be brought by one of the drug's users.

Pfizer is probably not looking to quickly resolve the matter with 1 million customers. Potential clients will be screened by attorneys and their medical experts to show that they took the drug, got pregnant when they took the drug, took the correct or recommended dosage, and that Pfizer’s negligence was a but-for proximate cause of the pregnancy. Pfizer’s attorneys undoubtedly have been very busy strategizing how to structure settlement packages. Fighting faulty birth control packages in trial could be disastrous for the company that has already been seeing recent diminishing profit margins.

The FDA has also provided details and lot numbers for the recall.

Posted by Attorney Saif R. Kasmikha

Midwest Legal Partners, LLC