Pharmaceutical company Allergan issued a US-wide recall Tuesday for nearly 170,000 sample packs of the birth control Taytulla after a packaging error caused pills to be placed in the wrong order, a mistake that it said could lead to unintended pregnancies.
The botched packs have placebo pills where active pills should be, Allergan said in a statement. The 28-pill pack should have 24 pink pills with hormones followed by the four maroon capsules that don't have hormones, the company said.
However, in the recalled packs, the placebos are at the beginning of the treatment. Taking placebos allow women to still experience period-like bleeding.
"The reversing of the order may not be apparent to either new users or previous users of the product, increasing the likelihood of taking the capsules out of order," the company's statement said.
"If patients have concerns regarding the possibility of an unintended pregnancy they should consult their physician."
Missing even one day of an oral contraceptive might put women "at higher risk" of pregnancy, according to the Mayo Clinic. For birth control pills to be effective, they need to be taken every day at the same time.
The affected lot was sent to health-care providers across the United States, and the sample packs have been circulating since August, according to the statement.
Allergan said it was alerted to the issue by a physician report and launched a voluntary recall.
Customers are being notified of the recall by letter, and the company advised people who have the faulty packs to contact their physicians to arrange returns.
Only one lot of sample packs had misplaced pills, Allergan told STAT News.
"An investigation has been completed at the packaging site," the company said.
"Given the nature of the issue, controls and inspections in place on the packaging line, the recall is limited to one lot of Taytulla. At this time, no other units with the defect have been identified within the lot or within any other Taytulla lot."
Allergan said it hasn't heard of any unintended pregnancies caused by the faulty packaging, the Wall Street Journal reported.
But, the recall notice still had a number of people fearing the worst.
On Twitter one user wrote, "This might be the scariest product recall of all time."
A DC-based morning radio show host tweeted, "You get a child!! And you get a child!! You too!!" followed by four baby emoji.
You get a child!! And you get a child!! You too!! 👶🏻👶🏽👶🏿👶 https://t.co/mad0wYpYpy— SUNNI (@SunniAndTheCity) May 30, 2018
"Gonna be a LOTTTT of babies happening in about 9 months…" another user tweeted.
Gonna be a LOTTTT of babies happening in about 9 months...https://t.co/dZMw8U7m2a— BigIndianGyasi (@BigIndianGyasi) May 30, 2018
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This article was originally published by The Washington Post.