An investigation by Pfizer found that some blister packs of the contraceptives may not contain enough of the active ingredient to prevent pregnancy or the pills may be out of sequence.
As you may know, oral contraception often comes in packs of 28 pills: 21 “active” and seven sugar pills. If taken out of sequence or without the proper distribution of hormones, they are ineffective.
“These packaging defects do not pose any immediate health risks,” Pfizer stated in a press release on the FDA website on Tuesday. “However, consumers exposed to affected packaging should begin using a non-hormonal form of contraception immediately.”
The pills, Pfizer said, have been distributed to warehouses, clinics and retail pharmacies nationwide, so they could have an effect on women across the country.
Although these women may not be in danger of other health risks, Pfizer’s bottom line might be. Greg Gianforcaro, a litigation attorney in New Jersey, told FoxNews.com the risk of unwanted pregnancies alone could be enough to open the company up to serious legal ramifications.
If enough women got pregnant and could prove it was because of the inefficacy of the drug, they could file a class action suit that could really hurt Pfizer, similar to litigation taken after a string of botched vasectomies. Not to mention the damage this could do to the drug giant’s reputation.
As a college student, many of my peers use oral contraceptives, some of them even use these exact pills. This recall has planted seeds of doubt into the minds of women who rely on the marketed promise that this contraception is nearly foolproof, but how deep does brand loyalty lie?
“I will definitely be switching pills,” Lindsay, a sophomore at Purdue University, said. “If a mechanical problem can be made once, it can be made again and I just can’t take that chance. There are so many different options, I will find one that I can trust.”
But others disagreed.
“I switched pills three times before I found one that didn’t cause me to be manic or gain weight,” one senior, TN, said. “My packs aren’t in the listed lots and I always use condoms so I’m going to stick with the pill that I take. This was a fluke that could have happened in any manufacturing plant.”
I’m not sure if that fact should make us more or less confident in our chosen prevention method.
The affected packets have expiration dates ranging between July 31, 2013, and March 31, 2014. Lot numbers are available here.