Oh, good. Another birth control recall has been announced–this time, it’s seven lots of generic pills, which have the placebo in the wrong place. That marks the second one this month. Our uteruses simply cannot catch a break.
Here’s the press release from the company:
As a result of this packaging error, the daily regimen for these oral contraceptives may be incorrect and could leave women without adequate contraception, and at risk for unintended pregnancy. These packaging defects do not pose any immediate health risks. However, consumers exposed to affected packaging should begin using a non-hormonal form of contraception immediately.
The recalled pill packs were manufactured by Glenmark, a company which specializes in generics. Thus, they aren’t actually announcing what the pills are a generic of. But they are stating that the impacted pills are those which contain norgestimate and ethinyl estradiol–which are marketed as Mononessa, Ortho Tri-Cyclen, Ortho Tri-Cyclen Lo, Ortho-Cyclen, Previfem, Sprintec, Tri-Lo-Sprintec, Tri-Previfem, Tri-Sprintec, and TriNessa. If you’re taking the generics of any of these pills, check your lot number and expiration date, and then contact your health care provider.
In addition to this month’s large-scale recall from Pfizer (which included a million packages of pills), there have been multiple other incidents of birth control recall just over the past year. Generic manufacturer Qualitest Pharmaceuticals pulled several lots back in the fall for the same kind of error.
Mislabeling of birth control pills is a major issue–they are one of the few medications that are routinely packaged with a placebo pill, and which require proper dating. Which may make you consider trying out another, non-pill-based method, like the patch or the ring.
Unfortunately, the pill is also one of the only forms of hormonal contraception that is marketed as a generic–the patch, the ring, and the implant are all still under patent, which makes them quite a bit more cost-prohibitive, and less likely to be covered fully by insurance. But if the end result of taking the pill is a recall (and a pregnancy), it might be worth a trip to the OB/GYN to discuss other options.
Maybe it’s time to begin phasing out the sugar pills, and instead, leave empty blisters as reminders for the women who take them. Or, possibly, to just start paying better attention to the production of these critical medications.
Image: jcjgphotography via Shutterstock