Birth control pills.
Photograph by Getty Images
By Sy Mukherjee
June 9, 2017

A batch of birth control pills from Lupin Pharmaceuticals has been recalled due to packaging error that could result in unintended pregnancies, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced on its website.

The drug in question is a lot of Mibelas 24 Fe, which expires at the end of May 2018. Pills within the package were placed out of order, with placebo pills accidentally shifted to the first four dosage days rather than the last four. (The reason? The packages containing the medicine were accidentally flipped during the manufacturing process.)

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“As a result of this packaging error, oral contraceptive tablets that are taken out of sequence may place the user at risk for contraceptive failure and unintended pregnancy,” wrote the FDA.

Packaging errors have a somewhat disproportionate pull on drug safety. While food recalls over bacterial or viral contamination are relatively common, medicines—due to the precise order in which many of them must be taken—are susceptible to how they’re placed into pills, bottles, and other containers.

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