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Anne’s Essays

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Monday
Oct112010

Boehringer Ingelheim Abandons Flibanserin and 'Pink Viagra'

via Flickr’s Dana GravesGerman drug maker Boehringer Ingelheim announced on Friday that it had stopped work on a pill for low libido in women, or a ‘female Viagra’ drug as it’s commonly called. Our involved writing about this drug takes a middle-of-the road analysis to the research results.

We don’t embrace Leonore Tiefer’s unyielding stance on the pursuit of a female version of Viagra: “The discontinuation of clinical research on flibanserin represents a victory for the F.D.A. and the public, and the latest travesty in the decade-long hunt for a so-called ‘pink Viagra’. The agency asked for more data on safety and efficacy and the company responded that they lack the resources for such research. This confirms that Boehringer-Ingelheim was always more invested in marketing than science.” via NYTimes

Boehringer’s Uniquely American Results

Those comments ignore the reality that there was a significant increase in the number of ‘sexualy satisfying events’ from study participants taking the flibanserin.’ Our recommendation for FDA non-approval is focused on the reality that the biggest results came from American women, compared to European women, suggesting that besides the universal placebo-effect at play in the research results, American women responded particularly well.

Americans believe that a drug cures everything, which may explain our improved results versus European women.

We argue that cultural and health factors are also in play. European sexuality isn’t as drenched in respectability and morality issues as American sexuality. Aging women are revered in Europe. And obesity isn’t nearly the libido-challenge in Europe that it is in America.

Losing weight is one of the best “pink Viagras” available for reasons of both self-esteem and health-related conditions like improved blood flow to sex organs. How can women not feel sexual guilt in a country whose legislators are actually trying to make miscarriage a criminal offense? (Utah and more to come) In the US where women believe we have peaked at 28 and we’re downhill after that, it’s totally understandable that we lose our libidos and eat ourselves to death.

It’s our view that taking pills should be a last resort for women who want to ignite sexual desire. But we don’t celebrate the end of Boehringer Ingelheim’s research and abandonment of a “pink Viagra”, as many health professionals do. Anne

More reading:

Can Any Female Desire Drug Make Sexy Orchids From Pure Daisies?

Just IN: Strong North American Results in Boehringer’s Desire Pill for Women

Reader Comments (2)

This is not about igniting female desire. It is about a condition that women suffer from. The same as men suffer from erectile dysfunction and they have mediction for MEN. Why not WOMEN????? I went through the trials with a placebo and then was given the real pink pill and it really does work. So if it works, why can't women have the chance to cure their problem the same as men do. I thought women were liberated, so why do we still get pushed aside for a man's world?

October 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnn

Ann, thanks so much for your comment. So very relevant. I will only add, that the 'they' is women as well as men. The notion of encouraging a blooming female sexuality -- yes, of giving women a pink pill, right along with men and their blue pill -- is a loaded political, moral issue for society and religion, and especially in America, business is portrayed as the 'bad guy' for wanting to give women the pill many desire. But as many women attack the idea as men.

Like you, we believe the research should have continued in this political minefield. I have met one of the experts giving highly-prized expert testimony on your pill -- considered dating him actually, and he, me. I had no sense that this man truly grasps the concept of female sexuality in a positive way. I actually think the concept of an expressed female sexuality leaves him very ambivalent and he will never support a pill to enhance it. If I write more, I will reveal his identity indirectly, which of course, I will not do.

In no way am I minimizing the need to be cautionary about FDA drugs. This entire subject reminds me of HRT, in which I am a believer. The experts are all worried about the idea that I might get breast cancer -- when there is none in my family, and I exercise all the time, eat right, and do everything possible for positive aging. HRT has transformed my life, but the only thing that counts is the idea that I might have an enhanced risk of breast cancer. Forget all the daily positive wellness benefits that are also helping keep me happy, and a robust sex life is a big one of those issues.

Americans have a long list of 'shoulds' and 'shouldn'ts' when the topic is female sexuality.

October 19, 2010 | Registered CommenterAnne

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