Millions of women depend on birth control everyday.  Now millions have to worry if the pills they were taking were ineffective.  Pfizer just recalled a huge amount of birth control. 

Pfizer Inc. is recalling 1 million packets of birth control pills because of a  packaging error that could cause an accidental pregnancy.  Millions of women could have been given an inadequate dose.

The problem was found in 14 lots of Lo/Ovral-28 tablets and 14 lots of generic Norgestrel and Ethinyl Estradiol tablets. Both products are manufactured by Pfizer and marketed in the U.S. by Akrimax Rx Products under the Akrimax Pharmaceuticals brand.

So what happened?  Every package of birth control pills have a set of 21 active hormone pills and a set of 7 inactive sugar tablets.  This helps regulate the menstrual cycle while providing contraception.  Well Pfizer found that some packets of the drugs had too many active tablets, while others had too few.

While no birth control is %100 effective, the pill has a higher risk of accidental pregnancy.  The risk of an accidental pregnancy depends on how many doses a patient misses in the pill cycle.  Sometimes women plain "forget."  Ladies can normally miss a dose and then catch up the next day, but the risk rises if a woman goes more than a couple of days without the right dose.

According to IMS Health, U.S. pharmacists filled 38.9 million birth control prescriptions in the first six months of last year. A total of 78.6 million prescriptions were filled in 2010.

An IMS spokesman said the pills subject to the recall are older and not among the top 5 prescriptions filled.

A Pfizer spokeswoman said the problem was caused by both mechanical and visual inspection failures on the packaging line. She said the problem has since been corrected.

If you think you have been affected by the lot numbers, you should return them to the pharmacy.

The affected packets have expiration dates ranging between July 31, 2013, and March 31, 2014.

The drugs were distributed to warehouses, clinics and retail pharmacies throughout the U.S.

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