A Canadian drug distributor has issued an urgent warning for thousands of women taking its birth control pills after a manufacturing error means one batch contains too many placebos.
Apotex, which is based in Toronto, recalled packages of Alysena-28 with the code LF01899A as they may contain two weeks of placebo sugar pills instead of one.
The error, which affected thousands of boxes, can raise the possibility of an unplanned pregnancy as it leaves women unprotected by the contraceptive for a week during their cycle.
The rogue batch was distributed in all Canadian provinces except Saskatchewan and Alberta and was given to patients from December last year until the recall.
Warning: A Canadian drugs distributor has warned women that a batch of the birth control Alysena 28 could have two lines of placebos (in white) rather than just one, decreasing its effectiveness
It was initial branded a voluntary type 2 recall, but Health Canada has now upgraded its status to the most serious, type 1.
Apotex came under fire from women, as the company informed wholesalers and retailers on Friday but not the buyers themselves.
Emily Costello, a university student in Halifax who takes the pill but who was not affected by the error, said she felt sick to the stomach when she heard the news.
'It's unbelievable to me that they didn't do a public recall right away,' she told CBC. 'What were the reasons that they had to go through the retail first?'
Panic: Apotex, pictured, said the batch was distributed as far back as December until the recall last week
Thankfully many stores immediately took action.
London Drugs in Toronto told CBC that the pharmacy activated its own crisis plan, and contacted more than 350 women who could have been sold the pills.
'I looked at it and said, "There could be unwanted pregnancies out there",' said vice-president John Tse. 'We felt it was important to let the patient know so there can be a judgment call from the patient.'
The store is now offering free pregnancy tests or the morning-after pill for anyone taking the contraceptive, while health centers contacted patients who might be taking the drug.
Apotex has not responded to requests for comment.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2306531/Alysena-28-Canadian-women-warned-batch-birth-control-pills-ineffective.html#ixzz2Q1LHAVDA
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