Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Friday, August 25, 2006

What's Plan C?

Today's WSJ has an article about marketing Plan B, the "morning-after" pill, and includes this classy example of an ad campaign set to run in venues such as Cosmopolitan, Lucky, and Glamour.

Marketers of birth-control drugs often find they need to highlight something other than the sexual situation that creates the need for them in the first place, say ad executives who specialize in pharmaceutical marketing. Some such marketers have in the past drawn attention to unrelated side benefits, like how a specific pill clears up acne, or another shortens a menstrual cycle. (emphasis mine)

Are condom manufacturers peeved at having their products represented so publicly as being unreliable? Will this start ad wars between the various players in the contraception industry?

The WSJ, in its feature article on the subject, also tells us that
Plan B effectively functions like a high dose of birth-control pills. When taken within 72 hours following unprotected sex, the product reduces the risk of pregnancy by as much as 89%.
Wow, a whopping 89%! The poster girl should be peeved that not only was her first form of birth control unreliable, but that the second form may not be either. If she is so desperate to avoid pregnancy so much, perhaps she should not be engaging in activities that require her to double-invest in birth control products. Condoms may be cheap, but Plan B isn't.
Barr said it expects use of the drug to grow. Currently, it is prescribed about 1.5 million times a year in the U.S. The company declined to project how much revenue would increase over the approximately $30 million a year currently generated by Plan B's sales in the U.S. Barr's version of the drug is only sold in the U.S. and Canada. Other companies sell similar products elsewhere. Will Sawyer, specialty pharmaceuticals analyst at Leerink Swann & Co., predicted that Plan B sales may triple, to $90 million, over the next three to five years. The company said it expected to price the two-pill Plan B regimen at least as high as the current $25 to $40 per prescription.
I hope she hit up her boyfriend for half of that $25 to $40 tab.

CMinor made a good point about Plan B back in May:
The "Plan B" pill's promoters are currently waging a campaign to make it universally available to the end that many pharmacies and pharmacists face legal action if they choose not to carry it. (Most make this decision either for personal moral reasons or to avoid alienating clientele with moral objections to the drug, but it's a safe bet that the potential for future lawsuits should something go wrong is also on their minds.) The eventual outcome of this campaign--if Plan B's apologists have their way-- will probably be over-the-counter availability of the drug in any pharmacy. You, I, your daughter, and mine, anytime, no prescription needed, no doctor needed, no questions asked. As often as we feel we need it. Oh, the presumption is that the "average" woman will use Plan B fewer than a half dozen times during her reproductive life, and on that premise is based the current medical viewpoint. But medications are widely misapplied in the real world, a fact that every doctor knows very well. With Plan B on the shelf among the OTCs, available for cash and with complete anonymity, what is to stop any teenage girl (or even some older ones) from making Plan B their Plan A contraceptive? Cost? If it's too expensive, what is to stop them from theft?
Bearing also pointed to a quote from Pamela Pilch that makes a very basic point:

Besides all the usual (and correct) arguments against the morning after pill, there is one argument I never hear expressed in the MSM, but which should be appealing to secular women and radical feminists. It was first brought to my attention by Dr. Hanna Klaus. And that is that women are being economically exploited by the morning after pill. Because women can only become pregnant for a few days per cycle, many women will use the morning after pill on days on which they couldn't have gotten pregnant anyway. For each dose of the morning after pill, they are paying as much as they would pay for a whole month's worth of regular birth control pills (which is still a lot more than they would be paying to use natural family planning!).

This burden will fall most heavily on young girls who are too scared to go to a physician for regular BCPs, but who engage in unprotected sex several times a month. They may substitute the MAP regularly for unprotected sex and be spending much more money each month on it than if they just used regular BCPs.


Fidei Defensor said...

This post raises a lot of good points, well done.

I have been follwing the plan-B situation closely and this is truly a major victory for the culture of death. George W. Bush, who for all his faults I atleast figured to be pro-life was at-best a lukewarm culture warrior on this issue.

Of course Bush is comming from a Protestant/Methodist perspective here so maybe he simply buys the plan B=Less abortions rational. Anyway I hope Bush makes his peace with God on this one, a second term president, nothing to lose, these last few years were his chance to do some real good for the culture and I'd hate to see him blow it. Bush has spoken courageously about defending western civilization from Islam.

The situation is not unlike we westerners are all in a castle-under siege, we have troops on the walls and the towers are strong but many of us are foolishly spreading a plauge of death around within.

Regarding the pill, "unrelated side benefits, like how a specific pill clears up acne," also girls like to point out how their bust gets bigger when they go on the pill, in fact I think a lot of girls get started on this young not because they are having sex but because they want the side affects of the pill. Of course these desires come out of vanity, one of the seven deadly sins.

If we Catholics were a cruel and cynical people, we would be the first in line to support stuff like Plan-B. Not that we'd take it ourself, but because in a few generations it would essentially weed out those who don't like us. Of course that is not how we think or how our Lord wants it.

CMinor said...

Thanks for the quote & comments, and for the excellent article references in your post. I used to read Dr. Klaus' articles often when I lived in Maryland; it's good to know she's still out there giving 'em heck!

This is a real shame. I'm not quite ready to clobber the prez over it because I really doubt he had much control over the matter; let's face it, the Pill and IUD have similar effects and have been legal for years. (But not without a prescription, of course.) I'd like to see what his FDA commissioner nominee has to say about this now that it's no longer an issue barring him from his post.

I may going out on a limb, but I'd be very much surprised if in 10 years this hasn't become the 'Des' or "CVS' of this generation and been done in by lawsuits. In the meantime, however, I shudder to think of the human cost, both in babies' lives and in women's.