CNN has an important story users of Ortho Evra, a popular once-a-week birth control patch. Essentially, Ortho McNeil released a warning on Thursday that the patch exposes users to more estrogen and increases the risk of blood clots. “Thursday’s warning comes four months after reports that patch users die and suffer blood clots at a rate three times higher than women taking the pill.”
From their own website , they give a new warning in bold:
You will be exposed to about 60% more estrogen if you use ORTHO EVRA than if you use a typical birth control pill containing 35 micrograms of estrogen…Some women should not use the Patch, including women who have blood clots, certain cancers, a history of heart attack or stroke, as well as those who are or may be pregnant.
My girlfriend used to use the patch, because of its convenience, but was experiencing some bad side effects and so switched to something else. 60% is a lot of percent to be off by.
Is this going to be a trend? Just as we had accounting “irregularities” with Enron and Worldcom, are we going to be seeing more medical oversights (Vioxx, now Othro Evra)?
This particular bit from CNN’s story infuriates me:
…an internal Ortho McNeil memo shows that the company refused, in 2003, to fund a study comparing its Ortho Evra patch to its Ortho-Cyclen pill because of concerns there was “too high a chance that study may not produce a positive result for Evra” and there was a “risk that Ortho Evra may be the same or worse than Ortho-Cyclen.”
(I linked this to Outside the Beltway )