Bayer Corporation Are Bastards

bastard [bas-terd]
2. Slang.
a vicious, despicable, or thoroughly disliked person:
Some bastard slashed the tires on my car.

Those of you who follow me know I have some beef with the widespread use of oral contraceptives as the answer to all the world’s problems. I’m afraid I’ve come up with another 10 Reasons the Pill Sucks, may the Lord save the Internet. But before that blows up: As a result of some research for a final paper, I’ve been happily exposed to one of the most evil big-businesses in the universe: Bayer Corporation.

They are the leaders in the development of third-generation oral contraceptives, with their now infamous birth-control pills Yaz and Yasmin. For those who need a brief history lesson, first-generation pills killed people, second-generation aren’t effective enough, have masculinizing effects on women and also killed people, so now we’re on third-generation of oral contraceptives, pills that utilize artificial hormones such as drospirenone, desogestrel (DSG), gestodine, and norgestimate acetate (NORGac) to prevent ovulation.

The problem being, well, that they kill people. (Thus fourth-generation pills are now being developed in the labs. And so it goes…) A 2001 study of all available data entitled “Third generation oral contraceptives and risk of venous thrombosis: Meta-analysis”, has shown third-generation oral contraceptives to double the risk of blood clotting of second-generation pills. In 2007 the activist group Public Citizen — not exactly of a conservative or Christian bent, mind you — released a petition for the FDA to remove the pills entirely from the American market, demanding that they “immediately ban the third generation oral contraceptives containing desogestrel due to the approximately doubled risk of venous thrombosis (30 cases for every 100,000 users per year of third generation oral contraceptives compared to 15 cases for every 100,000 users of second generation oral contraceptives) and lack of evidence of clinical benefit as compared to the second generation oral contraceptives” Third generation pills also include Cyclessa, Desogen, Kariva, Mircette, Ortho-Cept, Reclipsen, and Velivet.

But Bayer Corporation — like all most companies — are concerned with profits, not women’s health. They released an ad campaign — you know the type; full of beautiful, hip young women specifically not having heart attacks — that promoted non-FDA approved benefits of Yaz, such as the reduction of acne and the control of PMS. Like this one:

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Thus it came to pass that an 18 year old girl, prescribed Yaz for her acne, “collapsed on September 24, 2010 while she was making her way to her first class of the morning at North Carolina’s Elon University,” and died of a blood clot in her lungs. I tell the story before the numbers, so you’ll some idea of the pain to magnify. There are over 7,000 individual lawsuits against the company, and during only a four year period between 2004 and 2008, the FDA received more than 50 reports of death of women who were taking Yaz or Yasmin.

Bayer Corporation was required by the State of California to release a 20 million dollar ad campaign correcting their greedy negligence, as well as to “cease any and all claims about the drug that are not FDA-approved”. Being bastards, this is one of the “ads” they released:

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Apparently it was supposed to be funny.

It’s a freaky world, oral contraceptive production. Of course, I’d beg any women on third-generation pills for trivial reasons to consider other options, but that’s not really my goal here. My goal is simply to raise the question, what if oral contraceptives aren’t the world’s greatest gift to women? What if Pill providers do not have your best interests in mind? Thankfully, this information is now contained in the packaging of all FDA approved third-generation oral contraceptives: “Case control studies have found the relative risk of users compared to non-users to be 3 for the first episode of superficial venous thrombosis, 4 to 11 for deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism.” May our understanding increase, along with a respect for our bodies.

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