Alysena 28 Birth Control Recalled After ‘Placebo’ Pills Found

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Many women could be in for a big surprise approximately nine months from now, following a recall of faulty birth control.

The urgent recall was issued by drug maker Apotex after it found that a lot of the birth-control pill Alysena 28 may have been incorrectly packaged with two weeks of placebo tablets instead of one. The pills should contain three rows of active contraceptive tablets (21 tablets) and one row of placebo tablets (7 tablets).

In the meantime, Alysena 28 users are being advised to use a backup method of contraception to prevent unwanted pregnancy.

The affected batch of Alysena 28 contains the lot number LF01899A and may have been sold in British Columbia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Ontario, P.E.I. and Quebec since December 2012.

As the CBC reports, Apotex informed wholesalers and retailers on Friday, but not women taking the pill. The recall status was upgraded by Health Canada on Monday from a voluntary type 2 to type 1, the most serious.

For its part, Vancouver-based London Drugs has been contacting the more than 350 customers its pharmacy has dispensed the drug to.

“I looked at it and said, ‘there could be unwanted pregnancies out there,” vice-president John Tse told the CBC. “We felt it was important to let the patient know so there can be a judgment call from the patient.”

The pharmacy is also offering free pregnancy tests or the morning-after pill for anyone who has taken the faulty Alysena-28.

“We felt we need to go and look after our patients, because who would fight for our patients.”