Photograph by Tim Matsui/Getty Images.
Pfizer is recalling 1 million packets of birth control because some might not contain a high-enough dose of hormone-based drugs to prevent pregnancy.
In a statement Wednesday night, the drugmaker said the recall affects 14 lots of Lo/Ovral-28 tablets and 14 lots of Norgestrel and Ethinyl Estradiol tablets. Essentially, some of the packets contain too few pills with the active ingredient needed to prevent pregnancy, and some packets contain too many.
Oral contraceptive packets typically contain both active and inactive pills in order to regulate the menstrual cycle: Normal pill packages should have 21 "active" pills and 7 sugar pills with no active ingredients. If the count is off, those taking the pills as a form of birth control may no longer be protected against pregnancy.
For those who think they might have an affected packet, check the lot number here.
The pill packets in question were distributed to warehouses, clinics and retail pharmacies across the country, and have expiration dates between July 31, 2013 and March 31, 2014. Recalled packets should be returned to a pharmacy, and users should notify their doctors. Pfizer notes that taking pills from a recalled packet doesn't pose a health risk, but recommends the adaption of nonhormonal birth control "immediately" for those with recalled packets.