Pfizer Recalls Birth Control Pills After Dangerous Mix-Up

Imagine taking your birth control pill everyday as prescribed and ending up pregnant!  That is exactly what may happen to you, after a manufacturing mix-up at the plant of Pfizer, Inc.’s Indianapolis plant.

Pfizer, the world’s largest drug maker, says that after a customer complained about a packaging issue late last year, it was discovered that due to a mechanical error, some birth control packs might have been assembled incorrectly. The cause of the error has been identified and corrected, according to Grace Ann Arnold, director of global media relations at Pfizer Global Supply Communications. However, Pfizer initially issued the recall to its retailers, rather than announcing their mix-up to all consumers nationwide.

Most birth control pill packets include 21 “active” tablets as well as 7 “inactive” or placebo tablets. The 7 inactive tablets are just for reminders to take a daily pill. Using the pills incorrectly diminishes their efficacy, according to Kim Birmingham, chief pharmacist at Campus Health Service. This means that a patient could have unknowingly skipped a dose (of active pills) and raised her risk of accidental pregnancy.

Pfizer has recalled about one million packets of Lo/Ovral-28 and its generic equivalent, but the company estimates that only about 30 packets were actually flawed. The affected packets have expiration dates ranging between July 31, 2013 and March 31, 2014.   The recall includes 14 lots of Lo/Ovral-28 tablets and 14 lots of the generic version. Both products are manufactured by Pfizer, and sold in the U.S. by Akrimax Rx Products.  Pfizer said the packets are pink, with the drug’s brand name or generic name on it, along with the Akrimax name. Pfizer’s logo does not appear on it.

This announcement comes soon after the FDA issued stronger warning labels on Yaz and Yasmin, regarding that about 10 in 10,000 women taking pills with drospirenone (a compound in Yasmin) will experience a blood clot or emoboli in a year.  A Danish study warned of even higher risk of using Yaz or Yasmin, finding that women taking the pills had double the risk of blood clots, compared with women who took other contraceptives. To date, more than 10,000 lawsuits have been filed against Bayer, (the manufacturer of Yaz and Yasmin), by the women who say these pills have harmed them.

It must be realized that as popular as these birth control pills have been for almost a half-century, it is still a drug and carries many side effects and dangers.  You should always weigh the pros and cons before taking any drug daily.  But if you decide to take these birth control pills, maybe you should use a back-up contraceptive, as well!!

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