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A ‘Female Viagra’ And Female Sexuality47:01

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A little pink pill to lift female sex drive gets a green light. The so-called ‘Viagra for Women.’ We’ll check it out.

In this file photo, a blackboard in Sprout Pharmaceuticals' Raleigh, N.C., headquarters makes an allusion to the male erectile dysfunction drug Viagra on Friday, Sept. 27, 2013. (AP)
In this file photo, a blackboard in Sprout Pharmaceuticals' Raleigh, N.C., headquarters makes an allusion to the male erectile dysfunction drug Viagra on Friday, Sept. 27, 2013. (AP)

A little pink pill called flibanserin got a green light last week from advisers to the FDA. Its purpose: to enhance sexual desire in women. The headline writers could not resist calling it “Viagra for women.” The same pill had been rejected twice before. At hearings it was called a “mediocre aphrodisiac with scary side effects.” But a big lobbying push demanded gender equity on the sex pill front – and finally got the panel’s recommendation. For “Viagra for women.” This hour On Point:  the little pink pill. Women, sex, side-effects and the making of desire.
-- Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Brigid Schulte, reporter covering social issues for the Washington Post. (@brigidschulte)

Dr. Lauren Streicher, associate professor of clinical obstetrics and gynecology at the Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine. Author of "Sex Rx: Hormones, Health, and Your Best Sex Ever." (@drstreicher)

Leonore Tiefer, clinical associate professor of psychiatry at the New York University School of Medicine. Founder of the New View Campaign. (@ltiefer)

Terry O'Neill, president of the National Organization of Women. (@terryoneill)

From Tom’s Reading List

Washington Post: FDA advisory panel recommends approval of ‘female Viagra’ — "The first-ever 'female Viagra' came one step closer to coming to market,  as a key advisory committee to the Food and Drug Administration voted Thursday afternoon to recommend that the FDA approve the drug with conditions. The committee voted 18-6 to recommend that the FDA approve flibanserin, a drug designed to boost the low sexual desire of otherwise healthy women."

Vox: An FDA panel just backed the "female Viagra." Critics say it's a mistake. — "At the advisory committee meeting, the FDA gave a scientific presentation against the drug, arguing that it only resulted in eight more sexually satisfying events per year (when compared with a placebo) and that side effects were common. But the room was also filled with emotional testimony by women who feel they would greatly benefit from the medication. Sprout claims nearly one-tenth of premenopausal women suffer hypoactive sexual desire disorder.

Slate: How to Handle FDA Rejection — "Pharmaceutical companies have long been trying, and failing, to develop a pill to treat female sexual dysfunction. According to a study cited on Sprout’s website, '43% of women experienced some type of sexual dysfunction compared to 31% of men.' And the most common complaint from these women is low sexual desire. But, according to several medical experts I contacted for this story, the very idea that women can be cured from low sexual desire with a pill was created years ago by the drug industry. Flibanserin, they argue, is far from a cure-all.

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