Drug maker Pfizer Inc. recalled about a million packs of birth-control pills that weren’t packaged correctly, which raised the risk of unplanned pregnancies among women who relied on the pills.
Pulled from shelves were Lo/Ovral-28 pills and their Norgestrel generic versions, which doctors have been prescribing for years to tens of thousands of women. The pills come in blister packs containing a mix of 21 active tablets and seven that are inert. As guided by the packs, women are supposed to take a certain pill each day in order to prevent pregnancy, taking the inert pills at the end of a monthly cycle.
Pfizer said Wednesday that it believes only 30 packs had packaging problems, including having the active and inert tablets out of order, or lacking the proper amount of each kind of pill. The company said it recalled a million packs in the U.S. to be safe.
The Food and Drug Administration hasn’t received any reports of adverse events, such as unintended pregnancies, and the agency is investigating, according to an agency spokeswoman. Pfizer said it hadn’t received reports either, while noting that it had only just alerted the public.
The pills were made and shipped last year by a Pfizer plant in upstate New York, on the Canadian border. To encourage proper use, active pills in the packs are colored white, while the inert tablets are pink. An alert customer noticed that her pack had a pink pill where a white one should have been, and complained to the company on Oct. 19, a Pfizer spokeswoman said.