MANSFIELD: A Sexual Breakthrough?

When an Associated Press article reported that, “U.S. women will soon have another drug option designed to boost low sex drive: a shot they can give themselves in the thigh or abdomen that raises sexual interest for several hours,” my immediate reaction was “Some women had better be careful or their significant other might sneak up on them in their sleep and give them an injection without their knowledge or permission.”

So instead of again hearing the dreaded refrain of “please, not tonight dear,” their female partners might, upon being awakened after an injection of the drug, instead coo something like, “Come here to momma, big boy, and let me see what you’re working with.” Well, that’s at least what the male researchers who labored away to make their dream drug a reality might hope their partners would say — or coo.

Why do I get the feeling that only males worked on the development of Vyleesi, which is being considered a female equivalent to Viagra, the blockbuster drug of the late 90s that men were (and still are) popping like M&Ms? It could simply be that the supposed cure for erection dysfunction is still selling like hotcakes and the manufacturer that developed the new product is hoping for a similarly big financial windfall. Why waste the time and energy on developing drugs to cure obscure diseases — no matter how debilitating or deadly they might happen to be — when there can be a potentially big financial score in pushing a drug there may or may not be a need for?

Indeed, the condition, known medically as “hypoactive sexual desire disorder,” is not universally accepted, and some psychologists argue that low sex drive should not be considered a medical problem at all. They state that “because so many factors affect sexual desire, doctors must rule out other causes before diagnosing the condition, including relationship issues, medical problems and mood disorders.”

Nonetheless, Big Pharma still points to surveys — some funded by the drug makers themselves — they say suggests the condition is the most common female sexual disorder in the nation, affecting roughly 1 in 10 women. But who is the “disorder” a bigger problem for, the female or male in the relationship?

The medication comes with some significant side effects, such as nausea, increased blood pressure, injection site reactions and headaches. Plus, many women might be squeamish about giving themselves an injection, something I’m sure their partners would be more than willing to do for them — all in the name of good medical/science practices, I suppose.

But this is not the first drug to be developed to treat what might not be a medical problem at all. In 2015, a once-a-day pill, Addyi, was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in spite of a contentious four-year review that included a lobbying effort funded by Sprout Pharmaceuticals, the company that makes the drug. They attempted to cleverly frame their efforts to push the pills onto females as a women’s rights issue — in other words if men can have their Viagra, women should be able to have their own sex-enhancing drug, no matter if they wanted one or not, or if it even worked.

The pill (which comes in a pink color, to please women, I suppose) was originally developed as an antidepressant and carries a bold warning that it should not be combined with alcohol, due to risks of fainting and dangerously low blood pressure. But one of the primary obstacles to the drug was its $800-per-month price tag, which most insurers refused to cover, citing a lack of proof of efficacy. So what did Sprout do? Cut the price in half — which proved the Robber Barons were initially vastly overcharging to begin with.

Cynthia Pearson, the executive director of the National Women’s Health Network, urged women to “avoid using Vyleesi until more is known about its safety and effectiveness.” She also noted that Amag, the drug’s manufacturer, has yet to publish full clinical trial results — but the FDA has still already given its approval. Unbelievable.

Additionally, the price has yet to be set for Vyleesi, but if it’s anywhere close to the cost of the pink pills, the male in the relationship might find it cheaper to do what he’s been doing all along when the answer in the bedroom is “no”: Hop into his vehicle and head on down to the local “Palace of Happy Endings.”

Of course, couples could try smoking a joint and sharing a bottle of wine, a much more pleasant strategy that effectively works to put many folks in the mood. But greedy Big Pharma (and its lapdog, the FDA) don’t want people doing that; they’d much rather foist expensive lab-compounded chemicals on an unsuspecting public. How else are they going to separate you from your hard-earned money?

From CoolCleveland correspondent Mansfield B. Frazier mansfieldfATgmail.com. Frazier’s From Behind The Wall: Commentary on Crime, Punishment, Race and the Underclass by a Prison Inmate is available in hardback. Snag your copy and have it signed by the author at http://NeighborhoodSolutionsInc.

 

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