Birth Control Pill Recall: Why Is Alysena-28 Being Yanked From Shelves?

By iScienceTimes Staff on April 10, 2013 12:00 PM EDT

birth control
A Canadian pharmaceutical company recalled one of its birth control pills after it was determined that the lot of 50,000 packs contained extra placebo pills. (Photo: Creative Commons)

A drug distributor in Canada has issued an emergency recall for one of its birth control pills. Now, Canadian pharmacies are pulling Alysena-28 from their shelves after it was determined that the lot of Alysena-28 birth control pills recalled contained an extra week of placebo sugar pills.

The lot of pills contained 50,000 packages of Alysena-28, distributed throughout Canada. CTV News reports that Alysena-28 is sold in British Columbia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Ontario, P.E.I. and Quebec.

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A pack of birth control pills normally contain one week's worth of placebo pills to remind users to keep taking them, but the recalled lot of Alysena-28 contained two weeks' worth of the sugar pills.

The drug's distributor, Apotex, Canada's largest pharmaceutical company, told wholesalers and retailers Friday about the recall, but failed to warn women who take the pill. The faulty lot of Alysena-28 was released back in Dec. 2012 - meaning that women had been taking the botched lot of birth control pills for four months before the company released the recall.

CBC News reports that the company initially deemed the recall a voluntary class 2, but later upgraded the recall to a more serious class 1. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, a class 2 recall is issued when the use of a drug may cause temporary adverse, but treatable, health consequences, and when the probability of dangerous side effects is believed to be remote.

A Class 1 recall, on the other hand, is issued when there is very good reason to believe the drug will cause serious and adverse health consequences, or even death.

Health Canada, the government agency that oversees national public health in Canada, tweeted Monday about the recall, identifying the lot number as LF01899A and advising consumers to talk with their doctors.

One pharmacy, Vancouver-based London Drugs, has taken it upon themselves to contact the more than 350 women who received the birth control pill from their pharmacy. The pharmacy even offered their customers free pregnancy tests and morning-after pills.

One woman, 30-year-old Jacqueline Belo, said she thought her heart was going to stop when she heard about the recall and saw that her packet of Alysena-28 birth control pills matched the recalled lot number. "I am definitely not ready to have kids," she told The Globe And Mail.

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