Novel Contraceptive Sayana Press Takes off for Developing world
Pfizer and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation are working together to bring affordable injectable
contraceptives within access of 225 million women in over 60 countries including countries in Africa, Eastern Europe, Asia and Latin America.
Several groups, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, as well as the United States Agency for International Development, will help subsidize the cost and assist in introducing it in countries around the globe.
Under the plan, Pfizer will expand the distribution of the Sayana Press, a version of Depo-Provera which requires lower doses to be effective. The recommended dose is 150 mg of Depo-Provera every 3 months (13 weeks) administered by deep IM injection in the gluteal or deltoid muscle. Depo-Provera should not be used as a long-term birth control method (i.e. longer than 2 years) unless other birth control methods are considered inadequate. Dosage does not need to be adjusted for body weight.
The Sayana Press currently costs $1.50 a dose, but due to subsidies from the Gates Foundation and other groups such as the United States Agency for International Development, it will now cost less than a dollar.
This particular drug will be available in pre-packaged capsule syringes and the product is already being used in several African countries, unlike the generic Depo-Provera shot, the injection from the Sayana Press can be performed at home, allowing women to use contraception without having to travel to a health clinic every few months. This method was introduced in Burkina Faso, Niger, and Bangladesh at the beginning of this summer.
In a conference call with media, John Young, in charge of Pfizer’s array of generic medicines said, “It’s a simple way to increase access to women who want contraception, in a setting where there may be limited healthcare systems. This is a great example of applying innovation to a Pfizer heritage product to help broaden access to family planning”.
It was estimated that between 2003 and 2012, the number of women who wanted contraception rose to 867 million from 716 million but the supply isn’t keeping up with the demand, and by 2015, more than 230 million women will not have access to birth control. Also 47,000 women die from unsafe abortions alone each year, while around 800 women die from pregnancy complications every day.
Pfizer and the Gates Foundation’s partnership is not the first attempt to make reproductive health more accessible in developing countries. In 2013, two pharmaceutical companies dropped the price of their HPV vaccine to $4.50 per dose to make it more accessible to women in poor countries. In 2012, Bayer cut the price of its contraception implants in half for 27 million women in developing countries. Earlier this year, the Gates Foundation donated over $4 million to fund the creation of implantable contraception that would last 16 years.
Author : Toshit