Emergency Pill Throwing Caution to the Winds ?

October 15, 2009

You would be really living on Mars if you still haven't come across one of those latest Ads for Emergency Contraceptive Pills. They have been put up everywhere to make sure you don't miss them. Even modes of public transport like the metros, taxis and buses have not been spared. The essence of the message is that no one, any longer, has to worry about unwanted pregnancy. It's as easy as walking to the corner drug store on your street and buying the pills.

Can the easy availability and overzealous marketing encourage sexual promiscuity?

Manipal University VC Dr Raj Warrier , a Professor of Pediatrics who has spent well over three decades in the USA is concerned  that skeptics,  some religious leaders and conservatives are quick to point out that the ads may influence the uninitiated to perceive that unwanted pregnancy is no more a major complication of promiscuity and unplanned sex. He says that "birth control has always been a contentious issue and this ‘emergency pill’ has added a new bone for the participants to chew on.”

But is a contraceptive only meant to prevent unwanted pregnancy?

Dr B Unnikrishnan, Associate Professor of Community Medicine at Kasturba Medical College, Mangalore is worried if easy availability and strong marketing of Emergency contraceptive pills could underplay the role of Condoms as contraceptives that have the added advantage of acting as barriers in preventing sexually transmitted diseases, especially like those spread by HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) as in the case of AIDS or HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) in the case of Cervical Cancer. Public Health programs across the world have been advocating Condoms for some reason after all. Will the easy availability of the new pill decrease the use of condoms? The need to interrupt the sexual act and the potential to decrease the pleasure of the stolen moment are commonly quoted deterrents to the use of condoms - could this promote the acceptance of the pill in the vulnerable and high risk population?

Dr Warrier accepts that emergency contraception is a not new concept and many a remedy has been touted as the one to use over the decades or millennia. None has gained the familiarity, notoriety or wide acceptance as the Morning after pill. Can the targeted, overzealous marketing preaching the use of the easily available morning after pill change the social fabric and sexual practices of the urban socialite, the young college students or even the rural youngsters who now have easy access to TVs, cell phones and pharmacies? He explains that the forces of economics, medical knowledge and ethics are all involved in many aspects of health care and the junctions or cross roads are often difficult to negotiate. He feels education of the public, the physicians and the pharmacists would be an important factor in the appropriate use of such pills.

Do these pills may meet safety norms enough to be sold over the counter or be subjected to such massive marketing campaigns and are social concerns being thrown out of the window in what seem very possible contradictive consequences of such strong marketing- especially in metro areas? There are very high chances that in the rapidly urbanizing cosmopolitan culture, the Morning-after pill may easily be mistaken for that one-night pill.

Drug Controller takes Notice..

As reported by the Indian Express published from Delhi in the first week of October, the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) said that a committee will be set up to examine whether Unwanted 72 and i-pill, two morning-after contraceptive pills, now sold over the counter, should be reclassified as “prescription drugs.” Unwanted 72 is made by Mankind Pharma, Cipla manufactures the i-pill. This comes after the DCGI sent a letter to the two manufacturers last month pulling them up for running TV ads it claimed were “misrepresenting abortion” and pushing the pills as a way to be “tension-free” after sex. The express added that as per norms, if these two pills are categorised as prescription drugs, they cannot be advertised. The Drug Technical Advisory Board is expected to meet on November 9 on the issue.

Late last month, News website livemint website  quoted Indian Drug Controller General Surinder Singh as saying that “There are ethical concerns over these ads and we have received a number of complaints. In India, there is not enough awareness on emergency contraceptives, so the situation needs to be tackled carefully. In most countries emergency contraceptives are sold OTC but this may not be feasible for us". The Indian Express report on the issue also hinted that the issue could take three to four months to resolve.

The story done by livemint adds that Until four years ago, morning after pills were sold as prescription drugs in India. In September 2005, then health minister Anbumani Ramadoss announced that in order to “empower women to be able to avoid pregnancy in such situations as unprotected sexual exposure, contraceptive accident or forced sex”, the government would allow over the counter sales of such drugs.

by Divvy Kant Upadhyay for Daijiworld Media Network
To submit your article / poem / short story to Daijiworld, please email it to news@daijiworld.com mentioning 'Article/poem submission for daijiworld' in the subject line. Please note the following:

  • The article / poem / short story should be original and previously unpublished in other websites except in the personal blog of the author. We will cross-check the originality of the article, and if found to be copied from another source in whole or in parts without appropriate acknowledgment, the submission will be rejected.
  • The author of the poem / article / short story should include a brief self-introduction limited to 500 characters and his/her recent picture (optional). Pictures relevant to the article may also be sent (optional), provided they are not bound by copyright. Travelogues should be sent along with relevant pictures not sourced from the Internet. Travelogues without relevant pictures will be rejected.
  • In case of a short story / article, the write-up should be at least one-and-a-half pages in word document in Times New Roman font 12 (or, about 700-800 words). Contributors are requested to keep their write-ups limited to a maximum of four pages. Longer write-ups may be sent in parts to publish in installments. Each installment should be sent within a week of the previous installment. A single poem sent for publication should be at least 3/4th of a page in length. Multiple short poems may be submitted for single publication.
  • All submissions should be in Microsoft Word format or text file. Pictures should not be larger than 1000 pixels in width, and of good resolution. Pictures should be attached separately in the mail and may be numbered if the author wants them to be placed in order.
  • Submission of the article / poem / short story does not automatically entail that it would be published. Daijiworld editors will examine each submission and decide on its acceptance/rejection purely based on merit.
  • Daijiworld reserves the right to edit the submission if necessary for grammar and spelling, without compromising on the author's tone and message.
  • Daijiworld reserves the right to reject submissions without prior notice. Mails/calls on the status of the submission will not be entertained. Contributors are requested to be patient.
  • The article / poem / short story should not be targeted directly or indirectly at any individual/group/community. Daijiworld will not assume responsibility for factual errors in the submission.
  • Once accepted, the article / poem / short story will be published as and when we have space. Publication may take up to four weeks from the date of submission of the write-up, depending on the number of submissions we receive. No author will be published twice in succession or twice within a fortnight.
  • Time-bound articles (example, on Mother's Day) should be sent at least a week in advance. Please specify the occasion as well as the date on which you would like it published while sending the write-up.

Comment on this article

  • Dr. C. D'Silva, Mangalore

    Sat, Oct 17 2009

    Its a pity that no matter what our concerns, the unethical, big-money making companies won't give in so easily. Ethics are not just about mis-use, but the appropriate use in the right situations.Perhaps if the ads contained a suggestion-"after consultation with a gynaecologist or medical practitioner" perhaps it would be some use.

  • Joseph Fernandes, Mangalore,Doha,Qatar

    Sat, Oct 17 2009

    This advertisement will definitely convince the younger generation to miss use with out knowing the troubles what they face later. Before it is too late avoid this confusion from the youth. Health department should take a step to make compulsory of the medical practitioners prescription to obtain the drugs.

  • Alva, Mangalore

    Fri, Oct 16 2009

    Side effects is one of the factor, the point to worry is the younger generation should not misuse these pills as it is freely available in the market

  • Eulalia Dsouza, Bijai / Mangalore

    Fri, Oct 16 2009

    This add in TV during prime time has been infact a matter to worry about. If these drugs are freely available to youngsters across the counter at Pharmacies, they are for sure, being misused. It is made look so simple that you are free to use these drugs at your free will and this is dangerous for our youth. Side effects are secondary, the pleasure is what today's youth will look at. It is high time that appropriate regulations are passed so that these drugs are made salable with " Doctor's Prescriptions only " Because it looks like these drug companies are making a fast buck by these adds. sales must have gone sky high after these adds in TV & other means...!!

  • florine, Mumbai

    Fri, Oct 16 2009

    Just like the ad "smoking injurious to health", these ads too can highlight the side effect so that the precautions are given to the needy.

  • Herman, Mulki / Orlem, Malad

    Thu, Oct 15 2009

    Beware of these emergency contraceptive drugs. The day will come you have to be admitted in emergency if not taken under medical supervision or proper prescription from RMP.


    Thu, Oct 15 2009


  • Clive, Mumbai

    Thu, Oct 15 2009

    I wont be surprised to know that many people are actually mis-using these pills. The side-effects are actually there but nobody is highlighting them. The young generation shall be the victim of such mis-information

Leave a Comment

Title: Emergency Pill Throwing Caution to the Winds ?

You have 2000 characters left.


Please write your correct name and email address. Kindly do not post any personal, abusive, defamatory, infringing, obscene, indecent, discriminatory or unlawful or similar comments. Daijiworld.com will not be responsible for any defamatory message posted under this article.

Please note that sending false messages to insult, defame, intimidate, mislead or deceive people or to intentionally cause public disorder is punishable under law. It is obligatory on Daijiworld to provide the IP address and other details of senders of such comments, to the authority concerned upon request.

Hence, sending offensive comments using daijiworld will be purely at your own risk, and in no way will Daijiworld.com be held responsible.