Friday, November 14, 2014

Is a contraceptive that costs $4-6 per annum inexpensive enough?

                                               Comments due Nov. 23, 2014

Depo-Provera, an injectable contraceptive given once every three months, is
already a popular choice of women in developing countries, who value the
convenience and discretion of not having to take a daily birth control pill.
But the injections are out of reach for many more women because they
live in rural areas that are too far from a health clinic to make the
treatments practical.

Now, a major collaboration between Pfizer, the drug’s manufacturer,
and several global aid groups is aiming to change that by providing
financing to make a new version of the drug — redesigned with developing
countries in mind — available in 69 nations throughout Africa, Asia, Latin
America and Eastern Europe.

The new product, called the Sayana Press, is a single-use syringe
designed to be portable and easy to use.

Depo-Provera is typically injected into the muscle by health care
workers who must first draw the drug into a syringe from a glass vial. The
new product has been reformulated into a lower dose and uses an existing
device, called a Uniject system, that looks like a plastic bubble with a short
needle attached. It is injected under the skin by squeezing the bubble and
can be administered with minimal training.

“You can imagine somebody sticking this in their satchel and going into
a very remote area,” said Peter Stevenson, vice president for portfolio
management at Pfizer’s Global Established Pharmaceuticals.

The product is already being used in several African countries, but
Pfizer said it planned to expand distribution through a financial partnership
that would allow the product, which typically costs about $1.50 a dose, to be
sold to health care institutions in those countries for about $1.

Several groups, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and
the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, as well as the United States
Agency for International Development, will help subsidize the cost and
assist in introducing it in countries around the globe.

Women will most likely receive the product free or at a reduced cost.
Chris Elias, president for global development at the Bill and Melinda
Gates Foundation, said the Sayana Press could be an important new choice
for the estimated 225 million women worldwide who would like access to
contraception but do not have it. “Family planning is an important priority
for us, and this is expanding the range of methods,” he said.

Pfizer declined to comment on the revenue it expected to generate from
sales of the Sayana Press, but John Young, president of Pfizer’s Global
Established Pharmaceuticals, said it was not seen as a major revenue driver
for the company. Depo-Provera sells to health institutions in those countries
for about 75 cents a dose.

Dr. Amitasrigowri S. Murthy, an assistant professor at NYU Langone
Medical Center in the department of obstetrics and gynecology, did not
work on the project but said the Sayana Press carried advantages because
injecting Depo-Provera into muscle requires the skills of a knowledgeable
health care worker. With the new product, “you press it and it injects it,” she
said. “It’s similar to insulin.”

Fiona Walugembe, who is overseeing the introduction of the Sayana
Press in Uganda through the global health group PATH, said women were
eager to hear about the new product. About a third of Ugandan women have
no access to family planning options, she said.

She said many women like Depo-Provera because they do not have to
tell their husbands that they are using a contraceptive.
Now, they will not have to make a long trip four times a year to receive
the injections.
“It is exciting,” she said. “It is really a big thing.”
NYT 11/14/2014)

27 comments:

Anonymous said...

This article gave me hope for the pharmaceutical industry. Too often we hear of people being unable to afford treatment or contraception because companies are focused on making the largest possible profit rather than distributing a possibly life changing drug to those who are in need. This contraceptive made available by Pfizer’s Global Established Pharmaceuticals can make the lives of women all over the world, specifically in developing nations much better. With a maximum cost of $6 a year and the simplicity behind administering the drug, the only hurdles left would be any religious beliefs keeping women from taking a contraceptive. This will have a great effect on the quality of life in developing nations and on overall world population.

Haylei P.

Maria Hernandez-Norris said...

As someone who believes that human over population is the root of all evil, I can safely say this is awesome. Making more contraceptives, more accessible to women should be a constant effort. By more accessible I mean easier to get, transport, administer as well as cheaper to make and purchase and Pfizer is doing exactly that. I'd like to follow this project and see how it pans out and affects the word. Particularly women in developing countries.

Anonymous said...

Its nice to see a large American industry working towards such a commendable and necessary cause presently. Not only is this form of contraceptive effective in that it can help better manage our ever growing population but it is also empowering women. By offering women the choice of using contraceptive and family planning options the woman is in more control of her own body which is a right every single person deserves. And because it is so subtle women can enjoy the perks of contraceptives in private without suffering from external pressures for a family, husband, or even culture who are opposed to sexual prevention in general.

By working together and considering aspects such as woman's accesses to contraceptives we are working towards better addressing the environmental crisis as a whole.

-Elizabeth Eggimann

Anonymous said...

I really love what Pfizer is doing. They realized that not all women in the countries mentioned in the article (plus others that weren't listed) have access to the contraceptives that they want for whatever reason- whether it be financial issues, distance, both, whatever- they saw these problems and decided to create a solution. Plus, it's easy to use, and it's convenient for the lady, since it is only taken 4 times a year. Now, more women are able to choose whether or not they would like to have a child (or another child, depending on their situation).

-E. Piper Phillips

James Ward said...

This is fantastic. I have a great respect for Bill and Melinda Gates, who are true philanthropists. They take on the social responsibility the wealthy should. As for Pfizer, its nice to see them making a profit off of helping people rather than poisoning us with Arsenic live stock feed or the other disturbing additives they produce for America's food industry.

Chelsea Dow said...

This is a really amazing effort being made to combat the increasing population problem. Arguably the catalyst to all other environmental issues, population has taken a significant toll on the ecological world since its massive boom following the Industrial Revolution. As it keeps increasing, we must scramble to find ways to feed, clothe, and shelter the billions of people inhabiting the Earth. Furthermore, we must find a way to work in harmony with the other billions of organisms we share this Earth and its resources with. Contraceptives in third world countries has always been a topic of discussion for population control, because many woman simply do not have access to it in these rural villages. This could help these woman to control their sexual lives and reproductive systems, also while combating a massive environmental problem. I think that it will receive some road bumps due to the religious mindsets of many of the woman in third world countries who don't believe in contraceptives, but I think it is a positive for those who chose to use it, and for the environment.

Brianna Connelly said...

This is the first time I am hearing of Depo-Provera, and I think it is a huge step in the right direction for our environment. I went to Catholic school for the first 12 years of my education in which they educated us that the pill and abortion is wrong, but what they don't teach us is how over population is killing our environment. We have to look at the bigger picture. Over population is at its worst in countries that our less developed. Depo-Provera makes contraceptives affordable and easier for women to access.Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation,
the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, and the United States
Agency for International Development are making a huge difference by helping with profits.

Brianna Connelly

Anonymous said...

I'm a huge feminist and advocate for women's sexual health and this product sounds amazing. I never connected women's sexual health choices to the ideas of environmental sustainability or degradation, but if I've learned one thing in this class it's that all of our choices will inevitably impact the planet. I mainly see the topic presented as a feminist one, where women throughout developing nations can access and empower themselves to use contraceptives. This is especially awesome for women in cultures that shame the use of contraceptives and do not offer safe, free, or legal abortions to women. Where overpopulation has become a major factor of environmental degradation, this article pointed out to me all the ways that degradation exists in the world - pollution, wealth disparity, government corruption, sexism- and Depo Provera is a product that fights all of it and empowers those it reaches.


Micaela Itona

Anonymous said...

I find it incredible that for once a company doesn't seek to make vast profit off of people in need. I feel Pfizer is leading the charge in helping underdeveloped nations in simple and effective ways that will help the nation for years to come. Over population is a huge problem, although more so in affluent developed nations. It's great that we are taking strides to help women with family planning and giving them the power to make informed decisions. I think this product should be available in the US for those who don't have insurance, or whose plans don't cover contraception (for religious reasons, affiliation, etc).

Patrice Purnell

Maria-Vitoria Bernardes said...

I think that this is really a great idea. Since the human population is over populated I believe this could really help make a change. The fact that it is so inexpensive will make it accessible for many woman worldwide. I do not think that the self injections are a bad thing, like the author stated it is like an insulin injection. A prescribe can just easily explain how it should be done or directions would suffice. The only thing that really makes me nervous about this is how safe it is. Since it is so inexpensive is it still safe for all to take? I think that further information needs to be brought forth about the actual product. I think that woman being more prone to this new type of contraceptive is a huge step in reducing unexpected or planned pregnancies.

Anonymous said...

For once i dont absolutely have the pharmaceutical industry! Population is really what i think causes a huge amount of these environmental problems and this is a huge step in the right direction. Obviously there are some large obstacles to overcome still(most of these women probably wont take this because of religion) but this is a start

nick stanton

Anonymous said...

I agree with a majority of my classmates in that Pfizer is doing good for not only women in developing countries, but also for our global environment. I specifically agree with Maria because population is such a serious issue, and if we can get a handle on the rapid growth of the population, then that gives hope to also getting a handle on other issues that are due to population. I feel as though this is a positive step forward, and very encouraging. I was happy to see this especially because a large amount of news about our environment is negative or misleadingly positive.

Jennifer Hare

Anonymous said...

This contraceptive is a wonderful idea. It not only helps with our population issues, but it also shows hope for developing countries. If we can do this what else could we do at a cheap cost for these countries. This could mean great things for the environment, as we know poverty is one of the main factors in Climate Change. This could just be the inspiration and example we needed. In class we have been talking about the environmental cost of a product. One thing i would want to know would be the environmental cost of this new drug. Otherwise this is a really great idea. It also gives me hope for big corporate companies. If this pharmaceutical company is willing to give up, what i could only imagine the profits could truly be for this drug, then there might be hope for the rest of the companies. For example the big oil companies. Can't wait to learn more.

Mikayla Bonnett

Anonymous said...

Having affordable contraception available to women from all walks of life is a step that should have been taken a long time ago. However, now that it has finally come, I am so happy! Many women in developing countries have probably wanted access to birth control, but due to financial or cultural reasons they were unable to do so. With this system, it's the best of both worlds, affordable and discrete. I think this can positively impact the world's population problem.
-Emma Weis

Gian Joseph said...

I believe that is is a good idea in order to help control the birthrate all over the globe. This will give women the opportunity for more family planing, and will give them the chance at more opportunities since they can decide when to get pregnant. Since the drug is more accessible and cheap, it can be reached by many different women.

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed hearing about this industry from this article. I believe that overpopulation is a huge, huge issue in the world, not only in environmental purposes, but for humanitarian and poverty purposes as well. The human race struggles in a lot of ways just because of the fact that we are completely over populating our earth, and taking over too many resources to be able to distribute them evenly. It gives me hope to think that major distributors of contraceptives are starting to pay attention to this major problem in third world countries. Once we get the population problem under control in a lot of these countries, we will be able to solve many other problems simultaneously, in government factions and also in environmental legislation and progression.

Leanna Molnar

Anonymous said...

Making contraceptives more accessible does so much good for the world. The world is over populated to begin with and many women don't have access to birth control. Allowing women in poorer countries to have the choice of taking a contraceptive is a huge step. Also this is affordable which is a huge concern for women with low incomes not just in poorer countries.


- Juliana Cesario

Michael Tierney said...

This article gives us the idea that contraception is difficult to get and this pharmaceutical that gets injected is much simpler and cheaper. It is also less wasteful, but that is not the focus on this article. I believe that this pharmaceutical makes it much easier and safer for people less financially fortunate in other countries. I think that if the gates foundation can get this project going, it will get other major financial powers to get on board with helping people around the world.

--Michael Tierney

Dylan Hirsch said...

Population in the developing world is one the largest problems we face as a species; we must provide and allocate enough resources - both environmentally and economically - to care for the billions of people that will demanding them in the coming century. Lowering the maternity rate of these nations will go a long way in assuring and battling the slew of problems associated with over population. This is an example of how cheap and readily available technology has a significant influence on combating some of our toughest problems.

Sulana Robinson said...

This is interesting and I believe will be very beneficial in result. Because there is also a great problem with overpopulation, this could really help solve that. Especially as a developing country, it is harder to obtain certain things like this and so it not only helps these specific women, but has the potential to help many others around the world. I hope it does, if anything, this sounds really great to me.

Anonymous said...

This is such an important issue and topic that should be brought to people's attention far more often. I believe that birth control should be a basic human right, not just for males but for females as well. I think it's fantastic that birth control is being provided to women in lesser developed countries for free or at very little cost, because I believe that it is so important for women to have a say in their reproductive rights. Articles like this one give me hope about the future of our reproductive rights.

-Marrina Gallant

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