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Dad wins 10-year battle over Pill side effects warning

WARNING: Father Brian Ross has won a 10-year battle to warn women with blood conditions about the dangers of taking the oral contraceptive pill after seeing his eldest daughter suffer.
WARNING: Father Brian Ross has won a 10-year battle to warn women with blood conditions about the dangers of taking the oral contraceptive pill after seeing his eldest daughter suffer. Paul Braven

AFTER almost losing his daughter and granddaughter to side effects caused by the pill, Brian Ross was overjoyed when he recently received a letter confirming an overhaul of the system.

Contraception pill packaging in Australia will now include extra warning labels following Mr Ross's decade-long crusade.

Mr Ross has a genetic blood condition known as Factor V Leiden mutation.

It affects one in every 20-25 people in Australia and puts suffers at risk of blood clots.

That risk is significantly amplified by taking the oral contraception pill.

Mr Ross passed the condition to three of his six children, including his eldest daughter Lee-Ann.

Before her mid-20s, Lee-Ann suffered blood clots and a heart attack.

After the birth of her own child, she had a major embolism.

During the pregnancy the foetus experienced blood clots, multiple strokes and the baby was born with cerebral palsy - known to be caused by a lack of oxygen.

For more than 10 years, Mr Ross has been appealing to the government to place clear warning labels on the contraceptive pill to warn women with a blood condition of the increased risk.

For more than 10 years his pleas were ignored - until now.

This week a letter arrived for Mr Ross from the Therapeutic Goods Administration confirming a overhaul of the system to include clear warnings with specific reference to inherited clotting disorders, including Factor V Leiden mutation.

"I had almost given up," Mr Ross said.

"I was despaired. I had contacted the TGA and never heard anything more from them. So I sent my request through to the ACCC last month."

Although Mr Ross was pleased to know other women would be clearly warned about the risks, it didn't stem his anger that it took so long.

"I am angry at what I would call false sympathy from successive politicians who give nothing," he said.

"I could tell you about many occasions when women suffered the side effects of this and that includes miscarriages, blood clots.

"I have had women in politics argue with me on the phone about this condition but when I asked if they had done any research, they never had."

The change follows a TGA review of the risk of blood clot-related events with oral contraceptives, which the letter said had just been finished.

However, a TGA representative yesterday said the review was still being finalised and the findings were not publicly available.

Did you know?

Factor V Leiden mutation is an inherited abnormality of the Factor V gene. People with the condition have blood that clots more easily than normal blood. The mutation has an eightfold increased risk of blood clotting (venous thromboembolism). Pregnancy increases that risk 30-fold. Oral contraceptives increases the risk 35-fold.

Topics:  contraceptive pill gladstone health



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