Thursday, January 26, 2006

I just have to pass along this great posting from the Feministe blog:

A new blogger to the site, going by Zuzu, highlights the ideology which permeates the FDA's decisions in approving certain medications for over-the-counter use. Apparently this diet drug (which would be called Alli) is used to block the absorption of fat. It doesn't have a very good track record, and produces rather disgusting and embarrassing side effects (no big surprise: the body wasn't meant to pass fat out through the digestive tract). And, it can be dangerous when taken with certain other medications. Also, as we can all imagine, it has a VERY high potential to be abused by teen girls (wait, where have we heard that one before?) Despite this, the FDA is approving it.

This might not seem like that big a deal, until you compare it with the FDA's much more publicized denial of Plan B's petition to be sold over the counter. As Zuzu points out (but I'll sum up in case you don't feel like reading the posting), Plan B has a very good track record, is very effective with few if any side effects, and has the approval of most everyone in the scientific community (even the FDA advisory board). (As a side note, I remember my gynecologist getting quite worked up over the FDA's denial of Plan B.) However, a higher up in the FDA, on pure ideology, blocked Plan B's path to being sold over the counter. Why? Because it could be abused by teen girls. (I think this is interesting, I mean, wouldn't we rather a teen use Plan B than later end up having an abortion?!)

Anyway, it's interesting that we're willing for teens to hurt themselves in the pursuit of becoming skinny, but we won't give them a safe way to prevent an unwanted pregnancy (or an abortion later down the line).


karuna said...

Hey! Check out this post about the plan b debate :

I happen to be opposed to it being sold over the counter mostly because I don't see them making birth control otc. I don't really know how safe it is to make this otc.

Anonymous said...

From what little I know about birth control, it really isn't that important to have it prescription only. You could very well have it OTC as well as Plan B.

I birth control were an OTC drug. I think the hoops a woman must go through to prevent pregnancy are lunatic.

Anonymous said...

Becky! - I finally found your comment on my blog! Also, I'm not super-excited about the writing section. I hope they don't ask me to write about volcanoes. Can't I just send them my thesis with a promise that yes, I did write it?

Also, I love the blog you linked to here. I have been very confused for a long time about why the FDA chooses to be a tool of the patriarchy. This doesn't explain why; nevertheless, I somehow feel better after being exposed to someone else's vitriol. (GRE word!)