A Million Birth Control Pills Recalled Again. Could the Pill Get You Pregnant?

The latest recalled birth control pills.
The latest recalled birth control pills.

It's happened again. Just months after a major mix-up in birth control pill packaging, another alarming recall has been issued.

On Wednesday, the drug company Pfizer announced the recall of over 1 million packets of Lo/Ovral-28 (and the generic norgestrel/ethinyl estradiol) due to a packaging error.

Read more: 9 surprising things you should know about birth control

The problem stems from placebo pills that were possibly misplaced in monthly blister packs. So on days when women thought they were taking active hormones they may have been taking sugar pills. The mistake means that an unknown number of women may be at risk of an unplanned pregnancy.

A public statement by Pfizer urged "consumers exposed to affected packaging" to "begin using a non-hormonal form of contraception immediately."

Back in September, the drug company Qualitest Products failed to live up to its name when it recalled eight different brands of birth control after a similar factory-related packaging issue.

Two weeks after the recall, a 32-year-old Georgia woman sued the company, claiming she became pregnant because of their mistake.

Over 50 years after the original birth control pill was introduced, variation and mass production is shaking consumer trust. Better regulation, particularly in factories where birth control pills are packaged, is needed if women are going to continue to rely on the pill for pregnancy prevention.

In addition to the recent packaging problems cropping up, controversy over other pills are also on the docket.

Read more: Questions of safety issued for newer birth control pills

Last month, the birth control pill Yaz and Yasmincame under fire for not providing enough warning about the risk of blood clots. Two recent reports suggest women taking those particular oral contraceptives have higher risks of clotting than those taking other types of pills, according to the Washington Post.

Women taking the current pill in question should consult with their doctor and check with their local pharmacy to find out whether their pills came from any of the mislabeling factories. The FDA has a list of lot numbers and an emergency medical phone number on its website.

Oral contraceptives are still the most popular form of birth control worldwide which means drug companies can't put out their products fast enough. But if the two recent recalls are any indication, it's time to slow down long enough to make some improvements.

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