National Partnership for Women & Families

In the News

Repeated Rejection of 'Female Viagra' Prompts Questions

Repeated Rejection of 'Female Viagra' Prompts Questions

February 21, 2014 — The lack of drugs to treat sexual dysfunction in women has prompted some lawmakers and women's advocacy groups to question whether FDA is less apt to approve them than similar drugs for men, the Washington Post reports.

FDA has approved 24 drug options for treating male sexual dysfunction, but none for women. Critics of FDA have suggested the agency is "succumbing to society's squeamishness" about female sexual desires, according to the Post.

Groups, Lawmakers Voice Concerns

The National Organization for Women, Jewish Women International and the National Council of Women's Organizations in December drew attention to FDA's repeated rejections of flibanserin, which was developed 12 years ago and has been continually sent back to its maker, Sprout Pharmaceuticals, for more testing.

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) and three other female members of Congress last month sent a letter to FDA calling for a "careful review employing the same standards of consideration given to approved drugs for men."

FDA said in a statement that it does not think gender bias has affected its consideration of flibanserin, adding that the agency is focused on making sure the drug's benefits outweigh its risks (Somashekhar, Washington Post, 2/19).