*]Nancy Berry died after taking Femodene
*]Trudi Banning suffered a blood clot when she was 22
*]She had also been taking Femodene
*]She survived but is now infertile
*]Warns other women to be aware of the risks
*]Campaigners calling on some Pills to be banned
Have 800 women been killed by the Pill? The alarming dangers of taking so-called third generation contraceptives
In the wake of the controversy last year, when France temporarily banned the drug, the European Medicines Agency conducted a review. It determined that the drug was acceptable for the treatment of a specific population: women suffering from moderate to severe acne which is caused by related to androgen sensitivity or hirsutism. However, before it is used, alternative treatments, such as topical therapy or antibiotics, should be tried first.
Off-label use of the drug as a contraceptive has been a problem, though. The manufacturer may be responsible for this. Quoting from a Dec. 2013 ABC (Australia) news report:
*The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) said it would investigate claims the drug’s manufacturer Bayer breached laws that prevent them marketing the drug as a contraceptive.
The drug was described as a “contraceptive” on the company’s website until this week, when it amended the site following inquiries from the ABC.*
The Daily Mail article quoted Professor Frits Rosendaal, of the University of Leiden, as saying such third-generation contraceptives should not be marketed as such.
‘They are still being used because of hard-sell marketing by drug companies and the ignorance of doctors,’ he says. ‘They offer no additional benefits whatsoever. Women have no idea of the risk and there are equally effective treatments for acne.’
I suspect he is right. The manufacturer make more money from a new drug than from an older one whose patent has expired. That incentive may be driving the company to push off-label use of such drugs as contraceptives, even though they are not approved for that use.