The return of the pharmaceutical industry to the market of contraception
Steroids 65(10-11): 709-711
Publication date: 2000
In the 1980s and 1990s, the litigious climate in the US had a catastrophic effect on sales of many major contraceptives. Although oral contraceptives escaped controversy, the intrauterine device (IUD) and Norplant® were two targets of damaging litigation. The IUD was withdrawn from the market in 1985. Since 1994 when the attacks began against Norplant, its US sales have dramatically declined, even though no fault has been found in the method or its development. In general, pharmaceutical companies were extremely hesitant to develop new contraceptives during this period. The bleak outlook, however, began to shift in the late 1990s, as fertility rates began to decrease worldwide and contraceptive users increased. By 2025, 2500 million women will comprise the customer base for contraception. Global pharmaceutical companies are now participating in expanding markets overseas and have launched and continue to develop a range of new long-term reversible, and highly effective, contraceptive products outside the traditional oral contraceptive field. Two new contraceptives on the way to the US market are: Mirena®, a levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine system manufactured by Schering-Leiras; and Implanon®, a single implant system manufactured by Organon of the Netherlands. Other birth control methods soon to be launched include: emergency contraceptives, the contraceptive patch, monthly contraceptive injections, mifepristone for medical abortion, and modified oral contraceptives.