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Less effective birth control?

Hillary Wicai Jan 23, 2007


SCOTT JAGOW: The FDA is hosting a panel of experts today discussing birth control pills. Here’s Hillary Wicai:

HILLARY WICAI: The FDA is considering setting higher standards for the pill. Newer versions of the contraceptives have twice the failure rate compared with older forms.

The FDA says that’s most likely because newer pills are made with lower hormone doses, which may be safer but not as effective. Higher doses of hormones can cause blood clots.

Regina Herzlinger a health economist at Harvard says the balance between safety and efficacy may actually lead to more choices.

REGINA HERZLINGER: In fact, it may open the market up to more choice. Among the things the FDA could decide is to permit marketing of both a high-dose and a low-dose birth control pill.

Worldwide, hormonal contraceptives are a $5 billion market. The FDA’s meetings on the pill continue today and tomorrow.

In Washington, I’m Hillary Wicai for Marketplace.

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