n-commentContraceptive Technology

Panel Wants to Break R&D Barrier

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Science  31 May 1996:
Vol. 272, Issue 5266, pp. 1258
DOI: 10.1126/science.272.5266.1258a


Hundreds of millions of couples worldwide lack adequate contraception, and this situation leads to over 50 million abortions each year, according to a new report by the U.S. Institute of Medicine. Yet pharmaceutical companies have all but abandoned R&D programs in this area. The report recommends several ways for the U.S. government, industry, and international health organizations to prod new research efforts. They include: reforming U.S. product liability law, including contraceptives in health insurance coverage, and pooling contraceptive purchasing funds from international health agencies to create a large market. But the report's authors as well as outside observers acknowledge that most of these recommendations will face stiff opposition.