Saturday, July 31, 2010

Pharmaceutical Holiday

Experimenting on women.
Can you imagine the FDA approving a drug that, say, increased the risk of blood clots, hypertension, stroke, heart attacks, breast cancer, and migraines for women? And fathom, if you will, the absurd notion that such a drug could be approved for the treatment of something that isn’t even a disease, a genetic abnormality, or a mental disorder but the very way that God designed women’s bodies to work.

Well, fasten your Malthusian belts, because they did. Now here’s where you’d expect a very special Dateline NBC exposé or an investigative report from Katie Couric to unmask this conspiratorial threat to women’s health. Instead, she called it “a tiny tablet that revolutionized women’s health,” before blasting the government for not giving it to every single woman for free.

And then the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Boston Globe, Time, and all of the TV networks threw a party to celebrate its birthday.

In the mid-1950’s, when many American women were using Lysol to keep from having babies, Gideon Daniel (“G.D.”) Searle (formerly of Metamucil fame) struck gold. Frank Colton, a researcher at his pharmaceutical company in Sko­kie, Illinois, had created a synthetic progesterone compound (norethynodrel), with a mind to curing “female problems.” Dr. Gregory Pincus heard about it and asked for some of it to test his theories about the relationship between progesterone and the prevention of ovulation. (Lucky for him, he had money to burn, thanks to his friend Margaret Sanger and her rich pal, Cyrus McCormick’s daughter Katharine.)

Pincus assembled a team led by Dr. John Rock, a Roman Catholic fertility expert who publicly rejected Church teaching on contraception, and they began experimenting on women, inducing “false pregnancies.” Meanwhile, back in Skokie, Searle researchers developed their drug, reducing the amount of mestranol (estrogen) in their compound to prevent bleeding. They called it Enovid and shipped it off to Team Pincus for testing on women in Puerto Rico and Haiti.

1 comment:

Julygirl said...

Questionable pharmaceutical products are still tested on 3rd world women.