Women’s birth control has been on the market for nearly 60 years now. The oral contraceptive pill for women was approved for public usage way back in 1960 but alternatives for men are only just now catching up.
A contraceptive called Vasalgel has been developed in the US but is not yet ready for the market, while a male birth control pill may still take 10 more years in development. But in India, the world’s first contraceptive injection for men could be available to the public in as short a time as 6 months.
Hindustan Times reports that the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has now completed clinical trials of their injectable contraceptive and sent it to the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) for approval.
“The product is ready, with only regulatory approvals pending with the Drugs Controller. The trials are over, including extended, phase 3 clinical trials for which 303 candidates were recruited with 97.3% success rate and no reported side-effects. The product can safely be called the world’s first male contraceptive,” stated Dr RS Sharma, ICMR’s senior scientist who has been overseeing the trials.
The contraceptive is a polymer that will be injected under anesthesia in the sperm-containing tube near the testicles. Called reversible inhibition of sperm under guidance (RISUG), it is made of a compound called Styrene Maleic Anhydride. It is supposed to be effective for 13 years before losing potency.
“The polymer was developed by Prof SK Guha from the Indian Institute of Technology in the 1970s. ICMR has been researching on it to turn it into a product for mass use since 1984, and the final product is ready after exhaustive trials,” explained Sharma.
While research and development on the contraceptive have been completed there is still the next step of approval. “It’s the first in the world from India so we have to be extra careful about approval. We are looking at all aspects, especially the good manufacturing practice (GMP) certification that won’t raise any questions about its quality,” said VG Somani, the drug controller general of India.
“I’d say it will still take about six to seven months for all the approvals to be granted before the product can be manufactured,” added Sonami.
However, the contraceptive is more likely to be marketed as a long-term alternative to a vasectomy rather than a contraceptive similar to a woman’s implant or coil.
Would you consider using this injectable contraceptive?
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