Role of Big Pharma in question after half a century of the pill

Lelslie Cannold; 5/4/10

Dr Leslie Cannold is a feminist, a medical ethicist and an author.

An independent study is needed of the pill’s impact on women’s lives. If you don’t know it yet, you will soon. This year in the US, Bayer Schering Pharma is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the oral contraceptive pill. Our turn comes next. The company launched the pill in Australia in 1961. As head of a women’s reproductive rights advocacy group, I got the news early, in a letter from Bayer’s business unit telling of their planned “national communication program” to inform the public of “this important milestone in women’s healthcare”.It invited me to “begin a dialogue of collaboration” that involved, as far as I could tell when I rang the number supplied, my group singing from the Bayer song sheet about the company’s “proud heritage” and current practice of “providing women with reliable and trusted contraceptive options”.