The pills recalled by Glenmark, made and packaged in India, must be taken in order -- but the recalled packages are put together backward. This means women may take the wrong pills on the wrong day, putting them at risk of unwanted pregnancy.
Other than unwanted pregnancy, the recalled birth control pills pose no new immediate health risks.
"Consumers exposed to affected packaging should begin using a non-hormonal form of contraception immediately," Glenmark says in a news release. "Patients who have the affected product … should notify their physician and return the product to the pharmacy."
Because of the packaging error, the lot number and expiration date is visible only on the outer pouch of the product. If the lot number and expiration date can't be read on the blister pack, the product is being recalled.
The pills were distributed in the U.S. from Sept. 21, 2011, through Dec. 30, 2011. They were distributed only in the U.S.
The packages carry the Glenmark brand in the lower right corner. The generic name of the drug is printed across the top: "Norgestimate and Ethinyl Estradiol Tablets USP, 0.18 mg/0.035mg, 0.215 mg/0.035 mg, 0.25 mg/0.035 mg."
Lot numbers of affected packs are as follows:
The correct packaging configuration of this product has three pouch packs in a carton and each pouch pack has one blister that contains 28 tablets. The correct tablet sequence is white to off-white tablets on the top row and inactive light green tablets on the bottom row:
Each white to off white tablet contains 0.18 mg of the progestin compound, norgestimate USP, together with 0.035 mg of the estrogen compound, ethinyl estradiol USP.
Each light blue tablet contains 0.215 mg of the progestin compound, norgestimate USP, together with 0.035 mg of the estrogenic compound, ethinyl estradiol USP.
Each blue tablet contains 0.25 mg of the progestin compound, norgestimate USP, together with 0.035 mg of the estrogen compound, ethinyl estradiol USP.
Each light green tablet contains inert ingredients only.