Company recalls faulty birth control

Rachel Thompson

Oral contraception users on campus are worried after at least one million defective birth control pill packets have been pulled from the shelves in a national recall by Pfizer Inc.
The company recalled 14 lots of Lo/Ovral-28 tablets and 14 lots of generic Norgestrel and Ethinyl Estradiol tablets on Tuesday, according to Pfizer’s press release.

Pfizer spokeswoman Grace Ann Arnold said the products were distributed between January 2011 and December 2011, with expiration dates ranging from July 31, 2013 to March 31, 2014. According to Pfizer Inc.’s press release, the pills do not constitute immediate health risks, but do present the risk of unintended pregnancy. Company representatives also said the packaging mistake was due to failures from the inspection department.

“We understand that this news can be very concerning and confusing for any woman who takes birth control pills to protect against unintended pregnancies,” Arnold said. “Our message is that if you are a woman in the United States who has used these pills over the last several months to please consult with your physician and begin using a non-hormonal barrier method immediately.”

Chief of pharmacy services Terry Weaver said UT Health Services did not carry or distribute the recalled birth control pills, but students who filled prescriptions at other pharmacies should check if their prescription is part of the recall.

“Anyone who has gotten their prescriptions filled at our pharmacy on campus in the SSB has no need to worry about the issue,” Weaver said. “If they are not sure whether or not they are affected by this recall, they can contact the pharmacy that filled their prescription to verify.”

Weaver also said students who have been taking one of the defective pills should use a non-hormonal contraceptive immediately or consider using an emergency contraceptive. These products are available at most pharmacies, including the University Health Services pharmacy, he said.

Radio-television-film sophomore Brooke Brown said she asked how long the drug had been on the market for safety reasons when she first started taking the pill. She said she was not taking the affected pill but has always been aware of the risks that accompany birth control.

“I think every pill has its potential problems, but I hope it doesn’t deter people from getting birth control,” Brown said.

Journalism senior Chontelle Waters, who said she does not take the pill, said although the recalled pills pose no health risks besides unintended pregnancy, she still blames the company for selling a defective product.

“I’m already a little paranoid about the pill, and if I were taking it I would be mad at the company for letting it happen,” Waters said. “I think maybe people will be a little more wary about taking it.”

Printed on Friday, February 3, 2012 as: Pfizer recalls faulty birth control