Pharmaceutical companies are first and foremost companies. It’s not in their best interest to make one-shot wonder drugs that get you sorted out for life, so they aren’t on the market. Contraceptives are no different. With over 50% of women in the US using “The Pill”, that is big business. Multiply that by their average length of usage, which from the women I’ve spoken to can be anywhere from 5 to 35 years, and you’ve got yourself a money making scheme with serious longevity. So will this new male contraceptive see the light of day?
After a more than 30-year struggle, an unassuming Indian engineer named Sujoy K. Guha is on the brink of what could well be the most revolutionary contraceptive technology since the pill — and this time it’s for men. […]
So what you get is a one-time, hormone-free sperm blocker that you can turn off whenever you want. […]
“We had no support from industry,” Guha said. “And basically neither I nor my colleagues were really knowledgeable and experienced with respect to new drug development.”
Part of the problem was the elegance of Guha’s design, which from a marketing perspective was, frankly, too effective.
“To men, an ideal method would be cheap and long-lasting. To company shareholders, an ideal method would be expensive and temporary,” Lissner explained by email.
“Pharmaceutical companies have no incentive to develop a cheap long-lasting method, and we can’t expect them to take the lead. Men will get one if, and only if, they demand it of their governments,” she said.
I’m not in favour of this drug, but this article exposes the problem with pharmaceutical companies not wanting to make anything “too effective”. What’s worse is that they tie themselves to social issues in a way that has sway on public opinion (throwing a few million to advertising for Marie Stopes is going to have big impact). They simply won’t manufacture a product or support an organization that won’t make them serious bank, social impact be damned. And this is a problem, because the consumer/patient ends up with a product that they’re told is in their best interest when it’s really in the best interest of the company. I’m not sure we can have it both ways.by