Cape Gazette

People's Pharmacy

Birth control pills recalled

By Joe and Teresa Graedon | Feb 09, 2012

Women rely on their birth control pills to prevent pregnancy, and for the most part that confidence is well placed.

But a manufacturing error by pharmaceutical giant Pfizer could lead, experts surmise, to unintended conceptions.

The birth control pill Lo/Ovral-28 is sold in pink packets of 21 hormone-containing pills and 7 placebo pills. The placebo pills permit women to have monthly periods and are pink rather than white like the active pills. In the mix-up, the placebo pills were not properly placed on the packet, but were mixed in with the active ones. This could compromise contraceptive effectiveness.

Pfizer estimates that only about 30 packets may have been affected by this problem, but the company is recalling approximately 1 million packages. These include both brand-name Lo/Ovral-28 and generic norgestrel and ethinyl estradiol, all distributed in pink packages by Akrimax Rx Products. The packages are marked with expiration dates between July 31, 2013 and March 31, 2014.

Any woman who has an Akrimax birth control packet that meets these criteria should immediately start using backup nonhormonal contraception such as a condom, diaphragm or spermicidal jelly or foam. She should return the packet to the pharmacy for free replacement and notify her physician.

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