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Company drops effort to develop 'pink Viagra'

Citing insurmountable regulatory hurdles, the pharmaceutical company that's been working to develop a drug to boost women's libidos has abandoned that effort.

Leonore Tiefer, Ph.D., a sex specialist and writer at her office in Manhattan. She opposes the use of female viagra. (Helayne Seidman-For the Washington Post)

The German pharmaceutical company Boehringer Engelheim announced Friday afternoon that it was ceasing research on its one-a-day oral pill containing flibanserin, dubbed "pink Viagra" for its potential to help women with low sex drive boost their sexual desire. The company hadn't been able to convince the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that the drug was useful enough in combating "hypoactive sexual desire disorder" to justify its side effects, which were common among women testing the drug and included depression, fatigue and fainting.

The company says it didn't make the decision lightly, as it had already poured lots of resources into developing and testing the drug. They've decided to focus on other drugs that have better potential to make it to market.

By Jennifer LaRue Huget  | October 8, 2010; 2:32 PM ET
Categories:  FDA, Sex, Women's Health, drug safety  
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As women age, their libido decreases, at least for the most part. It's part of the natural aging process and unlike men, it doesn't affect women that much. Why would any woman in her right mind want to pour a bunch of chemicals within unknown side effects to "fix" a problem that isn't really a problem? This female Viagara pill is just pure nonsense, designed solely to make money for pharmaceutical companies. These companies should concentrate on developing drugs for real problems in women such as cancer, bladder incontinence etc.

Posted by: georgettec28 | October 9, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse


Like it or not. The big pharmas are in business to make money. The way they've picked to make money is through drugs.

If the market is big enough for bladder incontinence to make it a worthwhile venture that's what they'll do. If it's not, then the only place you'll find anyone interested in doing the research are the universities or non-profits that get government grants.

Every decision by the pharms on how to spend development funds includes the question: How much money can we make?

Most US companies aren't even interested in making flu vaccines. One time shots, liability issues, not to mention the guessing as to how many people are actually going to get a flu shot in any particular year. They won't spend that kind of money without a lot of assurances from the government that they'll make a profit.

The mission statements about humanity are there for public relations.

Posted by: James10 | October 9, 2010 11:31 AM | Report abuse

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