Glenmark Generics has voluntarily recalled seven lots of birth control pills for faulty packaging. This marks the second time in a month a major pharmaceutical company has had to recall birth control pills because of such errors.
What is wrong with the packaging?
The recall involves the generic products Norgestimate and Ethinyl Estradiol. The company says the pills might have been packaged out of sequence. This means women might be taking the wrong pills at the incorrect time of the month. Glenmark did not announce how many packages might be affected, although it listed the affected lot numbers on its website.
Are there health risks involved in taking the recalled pills?
The Food and Drug Administration said in a news release there were no major health risks to someone who had taken the affected pills. But since the pills in the faulty packages might be out of sequence, they could be rendered largely ineffective, putting a woman at risk of getting pregnant. The company is recommending women who have taken pills within the affected lot numbers begin using a nonhormonal form of contraception immediately.
How did Glenmark Generics discover the packaging error?
The normal sequence of the birth control pills is segmented by rows of different colors -- the top row should be white, then a row of light blue, then dark blue, then green pills, which are the placebo. A consumer apparently noticed the packaging error when she received her packet and reported the issue to Glenmark, according to ABC News.
How else can a woman tell if she received some of the affected pills?
Consumer Reports described the packaging as being "rotated 180 degrees." This reportedly means the expiry date and lot number of the particular package will only be visible on the outer pouch. To be safe, Glenmark is also recommending the return of any pills for which the expiry date and lot numbers are not visible, saying they are subject to recall as well. The generics were manufactured in India.
Vanessa Evans is a musician and freelance writer based in Michigan, with a lifelong interest in health and nutrition issues.