Do to the deteriorated effectiveness of recent birth control medication, the FDA has decided to assemble a panel in order to determine if new contraceptive medication should be required to meet a higher standard of quality.
According to the Associated Press, “The government is considering setting higher standards for birth control drugs used by millions, saying that newer pills appear to be less effective at preventing pregnancy than those approved decades ago.”
A 2005 survey conducted by the Guttmacher Institute found that of the 60% of American women using some form of contraception, 11.6 million are using birth control pills. Last year the global market for birth control pills topped 5 billion dollars.
According to the article’ “the FDA says newer contraceptives have been less effective — at times, with twice the failure rate — than previous products, most likely because manufacturers have started using lower doses of hormones that stop ovulation.”
The first birth control pills approved in the sixties allowed only one pregnancy for every hundred women that took the pill. More recent pills that have been approved are allowing over two pregnancies for every hundred women.
The FDA is keeping its eye on several of the forms of birth control recently introduced into the market. Wyeth Pharmaceuticals’ Lybrel is seeking approval for its new birth control pill that is safe to use 365 days a year.
The FDA also just weathered the storm created by the over-the-counter release of Plan B (morning after pill). Only further investigation can tell if a higher effectiveness standard for birth control is really needed.
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