Fake Birth Control in Peru

The organization, Prosalud Interamericana, worried that emergency contraception pills being sold in Peru were not, in fact, birth control pills at all. They investigated and what they found was disturbing: 1 out of 4 pills was a generic antibiotic.

A split dose of two emergency contraceptive pills (most are now provided as one single-dose pill). [photo by Anka Grzywacz]

A split dose of two emergency contraceptive pills (most are now provided as one single-dose pill). [photo by Anka Grzywacz]

via Popular Science:

As a traditionally Catholic country, Peru has been slower than most to accept contraceptives. Over the past decade, most citizens’ ideology has gradually stretched to accommodate the need for birth control, but emergency contraception (AKA the “morning after” pill) is still highly controversial in Peru. Although some question the pill on moral grounds, others are starting to question it based on sinister scientific findings: some of the pills are not the pill.

With a growing number of “verified” emergency contraceptives being registered in Peru over the past few years, leaders of Prosalud Interamericana, a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising awareness about sexual health, became suspicious that some of the birth control being sold in Peruvian pharmacies was not the pill described on the packaging.

“While each product had been registered by the authorities, it was well known that the registration procedures were not very stringent,” said Alan Lambert, the president of Prosalud Interamericana. Fearing that the pills were faulty, the organization contacted researchers in the United States to investigate what exactly was in them. What they found, as they reported in a recent study, alarmed them: one in four of the emergency contraceptives they sampled wasn’t what it appeared to be. In fact, one wasn’t even birth control at all—it was just a cheap antibiotic being sold as birth control.

But how did these drugs get into the supply chain? How can fraud like this be prevented, and what can women do to be sure they’re not getting fake pills?

Continue reading.

6 Comments on "Fake Birth Control in Peru"

  1. It can be prevented with a good, airtight lawsuit that makes the company pay for the lifetime of the child–until 21 years old, or in this case, the children. Just ask any woman who has had a bungled tubal ligation.

  2. The culprits behind these falsified medications, Fernandez said, are mostly international gangs that have turned away from producing and distributing narcotics. “For any criminal who wants to make money, it’s safer to make counterfeit medicines than to be in narcotics,” he said. If a group is caught manufacturing narcotics, they can be put to death in many places. “But for counterfeit drugs, the laws are not up to date. You may get a few years [if you’re caught], but not the death penalty.”

    The Black Market℠ is just the gift that keeps giving, isn’t it?

    Given the heavy Catholic bent of the knee here, sounds like a good scorched earth campaign for contraceptives and reproductive health. Dog knows we can’t let duh womens have that level of control over their lives.

    You took a pill to kill your baby and it didn’t work? Kneel before The Dog Most High and repent, sinner!
    You took a pill to kill your baby and it killed you? The Lord Dog Almighty has condemned you thusly, sinner!

    • I first read that as “you lusty sinner.”
      That’s really the crux of the problem isn’t it? That women could be just as “lusty” as men?

      • Well, we’ve known at least since the Kinsey days that male sexuality is amusing and basically “business as usual.” But female sexuality? Perish the thought!

        It’s quite stunning really that as “equality of the sexes” has advanced, female sexuality has become only more contentious and litigious. As one example, witness the difference vis-à-vis age and gender relations: men having sex with younger women (or men, as the case may be) is a Time Honoured Tradition℠; women having sex with younger men, meanwhile, are Cougars On The Prowl®.

        It also occurs to me that in regards to homosexuality, the disparity continues to hold (if not outright further escalate). Gay men are generally much more visible and accepted across cultural lines, but no one ever really seems sure how to deal with gay women (if they even allow for its existence).

        I have yet to read the book this review refers too, but it floats some interesting notions about gender relations, witch hunts, and the rise of capitalism which I find tangentially relevant…

        Federici puts forward that up until the 16th century, though living in a sexist society, European women retained significant economic independence from men that they typically do not under capitalism, where gender roles are more distinguished. “If we also take into account that in medieval society collective relations prevailed over familial ones, and most of the tasks that female serfs performed (washing, spinning, harvesting, and tending to animals on the commons) were done in cooperation with other women, we then realize… [this] was a source of power and protection for women. It was the basis for an intense female sociality and solidarity that enabled women to stand up to men.”

        The Witch Hunt initiated a period where women were forced to become what she calls “servants of the male work force” – excluded from receiving a wage, they were confined to the unpaid labor of raising children, caring for the elderly and sick, nurturing their husbands or partners, and maintaining the home. In Federici’s words, this was the “housewifization of women,” the reduction to a second-class status where women became totally dependent on the income of men.

        The author goes on to show how female sexuality, which was seen as a source of women’s potential power over men, became an object of suspicion and came under sharp attack by the authorities. This assault manifested in new laws that took away women’s control over the reproductive process, such as the banning of birth control measures, the replacement of midwives with male doctors, and the outlawing of abortion and infanticide. Federici calls it an attempt to turn the female body into “a machine for the reproduction of labor,” such that women’s only purpose in life was supposedly to produce children.
        (Via: http://endofcapitalism.com/2009/11/05/who-were-the-witches-patriarchal-terror-and-the-creation-of-capitalism/
        PDF of the book for those interested: https://libcom.org/files/Caliban%20and%20the%20Witch.pdf )

        …in light of the article we had on here a few weeks back about the resurgence of witch hunts in emerging economies and immigrant communities, the correlations are eyebrow raising to say the least.

        • His timeline seems a little off. Women have been the properties of their husbands since the Aryans descended from the steppes and the Semitics swarmed out of the deserts. That is why we have the legend of Lilith with it’s focus on Lilith wanting to “be on top” and why she was subsequently demonized: everything else has been a work-around.

          Even so, it looks like an interesting book. I’ll check it out. Thank you.

          • I don’t believe the framing is intended to introduce this as the initial suppression of the divine feminine, more how there was an acceleration and codification of this suppression that really kicks into gear ~13th Century onwards.

            Personally, I’d say the enclosure acts are still the most important historical detail, but I’d never really considered how the witchcraft trials, the global genocide of “animist” peoples, and the rise of mercantilism all lined up. The best enemies are the religiously-generated ones.

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