The first ever drug meant to help women with sexual dysfunction has finally been recommended by a Food and Drug Administration advisory panel. Sprout Pharmaceuticals—the owners of the pill—is hoping for approval in mud-August.
Though 18-to-6 vote last Thursday was in favor and marked a milestone in women’s health, it came with a condition. There must be a program to highlight the side effects and interactions the drug has with other medicines.
The drug has been the current subject of a long running debate of about female sexual dysfunction. The FDA has its hands in a bundle because any action it takes could be construed as gender bias. According to Cindy Whitehead, chief executive of Sprout “This condition has been mired in a lot of folklore and misconceptions.”
Sprout itself joined other drug makers and a coalition of consumer advocacy groups in an online campaign called “Even the Score” which aims to pressure the FDA into approving drugs for treating female sexual dysfunction. So far, the coalition has gotten the support of some congressmen, getting some lawmakers to meet with the FDA.
According to Cindy Pearson, executive director of the National Women’s Health Network: “As a feminist, I’m delighted people are taking women’s sexual issues seriously, but recommending approval for this drug isn’t the correct response.” “This sets a low bar.”