Action Alert!


By Diogenes (articles ) | Feb 11, 2009

Today's New York Times tells us the story of "A Birth Control Pill That Promised Too Much." Or rather the Times tells us part of the story. There's something missing.

The story involves the pill marketed as "Yaz," which had been hyped not only as a contraceptive but also as a solution for acne, PMS, and other ailments. Federal authorities have ordered the manufacturer, Bayer, to correct those ads.

Regulators say the ads overstated the drug’s ability to improve women’s moods and clear up acne, while playing down its potential health risks.

Fasten your attention on those last two words: "health risks." It isn't often that a major American media outlet writes about the health risks of contraceptives, despite the studies linking the Pill with increased rates of breast cancer, high blood pressure, liver cancer, stroke, cervical cancer, heart attack, and clinical depression. Which of these risks do you suppose the federal regulators had in mind?

Go ahead; read the entire Times article if you like. You won't find another mention of "health risks" in the entire piece.

Oh, wait. Here's something:

In 2003, the F.D.A. sent a warning letter to Berlex Laboratories faulting its ads for Yasmin, the precursor to Yaz, for implying the pills were superior to other oral contraceptives and for minimizing risks specific to the drug.

Just "risks" this time; the word "health" is not added. There are "risks." The Times isn't going to tell you what they are.

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