Researchers from Georgia’s Institute of Technology confirmed this week that emergency contraception pills being sold in the South American country of Peru had a high likelihood of being fake.
Nearly a third of the pills that they tested were ineffective, or did not actually contain the labeled medication.
Some were even laced with other medication. One showed traces of being an antibiotic– something that could be potentially fatal if the person taking it had an allergy.
With nearly half of the country living in poverty, emergency contraception in Peru could be the meaning between life and death. We recently wrote about success that a pro-condom campaign in Thailand had at reducing the population– before the efforts of Thailand’s Population and Community Development Association (founded by Mechai Viravaidya), the average number of children in each Thai family was 7. Now, it’s down to 1.5– and issues assorted with overpopulation, like poverty, have also been on the decline.
Not only did the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation give Mechai Viravaidya a substantial grant for his work, but they also funded this study in Peru. You may recall that we recently wrote about the Gates’ drive to find a better condom.
Taking emergency contraception is already scary enough without the added fear that your pill may be counterfeit, ineffective, or even dangerous. This isn’t the first time this has happened either– a pill labeled as Evital and sold in the Dominican Republic received a warning from the FDA as recently as 2011. Like these pills in Peru, Evital was found to be counterfeit and ineffective.
For women in Peru, emergency contraception can be the difference between a life of poverty and a life where they wait until they are financially stable enough to have only the number of children that they can afford. It’s not like women in Peru don’t know this– a survey conducted found that the average household has one more child than the women within said household feel like they can handle.
We know it’s completely fruitless to ask women to stop having sex, but counterfeit birth control is a real, world-wide issue. Last year, a company in China was caught selling condoms had a forged Durex label (check out our line up of real Durex products). It’s time we took responsibility and helped our brothers and sisters around the world get access to real and effective birth control.