Here’s why pharma firms are ignoring this new male contraceptive

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Drug companies relying on female contraceptives to make millions are ignoring a new form of male contraception that is showing promising results.

Following years of human trials on the product and researchers done before being submitted for regulatory approval, it is now believed that the product is safe and effective.

The product and its procedure is 98 percent effective at preventing pregnancy and has no major side effects, RS Sharma, head of reproductive biology and maternal health at the Indian Council of Medical Research, was quoted as saying in a news report.

The method of impairing male fertility relies on a polymer gel that is injected into the sperm-carrying tubes in the scrotum. Having the constancy of melted chocolate, the polymer gel carries a positive charge that performs as a buffer on negatively charged sperm, thus making the sperm infertile.

Sole challenge

For Sujoy Guha, the 76-year-old biomedical engineer who invented the first new male contraceptive, the challenge he faces is finding companies who want to sell it. Rather than a big pharma lab, the product emerged from a university startup in the heart of rural India.

The contraceptive is a new birth control method for men that has been created to ease the burden of several women in developing countries including India.

According to the World Health Organization, these women have an unmet need for contraception. Along with an unmet need for family planning, the social stigma and the lack of privacy in stores maintained condom use to less than 6 percent.

White, middle-aged males

“The fact that the big companies are run by white, middle-aged males who have the same feeling – that they would never do it – plays a major role,” said Herjan Coelingh Bennink, a gynecology professor, in remarks quoted by The Independent. “If those companies were run by women, it would be totally different.”

According to research conducted by Organon in the 1990s, a new option for a male contraceptive can gather at least half the female contraceptives market, making it less attractive for drug companies who make billions from the female contraceptives produced.

Demand for the new option is believed to be promising. While many hope to embrace shared family-planning responsibilities, several single men remain to look for an alternative to condom usage, said Coelingh Bennink.