One million packages of birth control pills have been voluntarily recalled after their manufacturer has announced that the drugs might not contain enough hormones to prevent pregnancy. So instead of calling them "birth control pills," it might be more accurate to refer to them as "one-a-day useless hormone candy."
The inadequate pills are called Lo/Ovral-28, Norgestrel and Ethinyl Estradiol. Women who use the drug typically take active pills for three weeks, followed by a week of sugar pills, but it seems there's been a whoopsie-daisy in putting the right number of sugar pills in the proper place in the packaging. According to their manufacturer Pfizer, some of the recalled packages contain too many active pills while others don't contain enough. Pfizer's calling it a "packaging error." Sort of like how buying a gallon of milk only to bring it home and discover that it's actually only half full of orange juice that will get you pregnant is a packaging error.
The "packaging error" of this recall is reminiscent of last fall's massive pillpocalypse, where 8 different types of Qualitest-made birth control were similarly wrongly packaged and recalled amid pregnancy fears.
If you want to be a glass-half-full kind of person, at least this current birth control fuck up won't kill you. Just, uh, possibly lead to you being pregnant and mad about it—like Russian roulette, but with your uterus.
Birth control perils aren't always accidental; on the other side of the pills gone wild coin is the possibility that your birth control is effective, but unsafe. The FDA ruffled feathers and clotted up some veins earlier this year when a panel of experts who just so happen to have ties to Bayer narrowly decided to continue allowing Yaz and Yasmin to be prescribed to women, even though the drugs have both been shown to significantly elevate risk of blood clots in the legs and lungs, which can lead to possible death. Johnson & Johnson has been accused of hiding similar clot risks faced by users of their Ortho-Evra patch.
And if you want to get gross: in 2009, 40,000 IUDs were recalled in Argentina when it was discovered that the devices were contaminated with bacteria. Hopefully word got to enough women there before anyone unwittingly had a doctor install a device crawling with germs into their uterus.
So while this birth control recall — 1 million packs of pills! That might not work! — might seem like a big deal, at least it's not disgusting.
If you're one of the unlucky ladies with a medicine cabinet stocked with Lo/Ovral-28, Norgestrel or Ethinyl Estradiol, your life isn't over, but it just got a lot more condom-y. (Affected product lot numbers at left; click to enlarge.) Pfizer is recommending that all women on the recalled pills begin using a backup form of birth control. And lucky for you, Pfizer also makes pregnancy tests.