Council Commentary

Population Council Mourns the Death of Family Planning Researcher Tapani Luukkainen

University of Helsinki researcher Tapani Luukkainen, who led the development of Mirena®, the highly effective levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine system (IUS) died on Monday, September 21. He was 86 years old.

Mirena was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in 2000 for contraception and later for the treatment of heavy menstrual bleeding.

As a member of the Council’s International Committee for Contraception Research, Dr. Luukkainen also pioneered research to identify innovative contraceptive methods for men and women and strengthened the capacity of clinical research centers in developed and developing countries. He was a giant in the field of contraceptive R&D, a patient yet demanding mentor to many young professionals, and an inspiration for those who hope to make a difference in women's lives through their vision and the quality of their work.

“The Population Council honors Dr. Luukkainen’s contributions to improving the health of women around the world,” said John Townsend, vice president and director of the Population Council’s Reproductive Health program. “We join with the reproductive health and family planning communities in celebrating his accomplishments and mourning his passing.”