The New Brunswick Pharmaceutical Society is assuring patients that generic drugs continue to be a safe option, despite the emergency recall of Alysena-28 birth control pills.

Alysena-28 is commonly used as the generic substitute for other birth control pills in pharmacies.

Sam Lanctin, registrar of the society, says while concerns from patients are valid, the packaging mix-up is a unique situation.

"We don't have a lot of these things that actually hit the news, and a lot of these type of recalls, I can appreciate there would be a little bit of concern when people hear these stories, however, generally our drug manufacturing and distribution process is fairly safe," he said.


One batch of Alysena-28 birth control pills contained an extra week of placebo sugar pills. ((CBC))

The Canadian distributor of Alysena-28, Apotex, says one batch of the medication may contain two weeks of placebo sugar pills instead of one.

The error can reduce the effectiveness of the pills and raises the possibility of unplanned pregnancy, officials said.

The recall affects thousands of packages distributed in all provinces except Saskatchewan and Alberta. The code on the recalled packages is LF01899A.

The mistake is easy to spot, said Lanctin.

"There are supposed to be three rows of pink tablets and one row of white tablets. The mistake is there's now two rows of pink and two of white," he said.

But the bad batch was dispensed to patients from December 2012 until Health Canada issued the recall last week, so patients may not have any of the pills left, said Lanctin.

"The next step is to call your pharmacy and see if they can confirm or not if you received an affected lot number," he said.

Pharmacists should be contacting patients right away if they received the problem packages and contacting the drug manufacturer they deal with, added Lanctin.