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Health alert: Canada-wide recall issued for birth control

Taking a placebo in place of an active pill could result in an increased risk of pregnancy

Health Canada is notifying Canadians that a brand of birth control is being recalled from the marketplace because the blister pack may contain a placebo pill where there should be an active one. 

Apotex Inc. is recalling one lot (LF21272B) of Mirvala 28, a prescription birth control pill, "because the blister pack may contain a placebo pill (green) in place of an active birth control pill (white)," explains a news release. 

Each Mirvala 28 package contains 21 white pills (active pills that contain hormones) and 7 green placebo pills (inactive pills with no hormone). To prevent pregnancy, the pills must be taken in the proper order. Missing an active pill or taking a placebo in place of an active pill could result in an increased risk of pregnancy because the pill does not contain any active hormone. 

In addition to the risk of pregnancy, missing an active pill or taking a placebo in its place may "cause side effects, including spotting and irregular bleeding."

Health Canada is monitoring the effectiveness of the company’s recall and the implementation of any necessary corrective and preventive actions.

Product Company DIN UPC Code Lot Expiry
Mirvala 28 Apotex Inc. 02410257 771313225328 LF21272B 08/2022

What you should do

  • If your package has a placebo (green) pill in place of an active (white) pill, return it to your pharmacy as soon as possible for a replacement. If you are uncertain, consult your pharmacist.
  • If you cannot get to a pharmacy right away:
    • Take the next active (white) pill in the package that you are due to take, and contact your pharmacist for a replacement as soon as possible. Do not miss an active pill or take a placebo in place of an active pill.
  • If you have missed an active pill, have no more active pills and are due to take one, or if you are unsure, use a non-hormonal effective method of birth control (such as condoms) and contact your pharmacist as soon as possible.
  • Packages that have the correct pills in the correct order do not need to be returned.
  • Talk to a health care professional if you have questions or concerns about your birth control product, including about missed pills and back-up options.
  • Contact Apotex Inc. via Stericycle by calling at 1-866-534-9986, or by email at apotex7785@sedgwick.com, if you have questions about the recall.
  • Report any health product-related side effects or complaints to Health Canada.
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