Quick shot with the Drovelis pill (symbol picture)
Photo: Mia Takahara / plainpicture
There are moments when I just find it exhausting to be a woman.
For example, when my colleague Nina Weber speaks about her research on a new pill in a morning conference: A new anti-baby pill with an as yet unknown active ingredient, Estetrol, has been on the market since May.
The gynecologist who introduced him at the press conference was so enthusiastic that he threw around terms like "incredibly spectacular" and "magic substance".
The problem, as she writes: "You simply don't know whether the new pill is safer or unsafe with regard to thrombosis." The drug was approved, although you cannot assess the risk, which, incidentally, happens more often .
And then the colleague says that no authority or state agency is responsible for checking it.
And I'm sitting there, the day is young, the rays of the sun are painting patterns on the wall, I've already done sports and drank tea in the morning, you know, routines in the home office are so important - and none of them is of any use.
I can feel the pulse rising.
Because that means: For a few weeks now, a real-time experiment on the thrombosis risk of the Drovelis pill has been carried out on thousands of women.
They just don't know about it in many cases.
You are living with a new pill preparation and we as a society will see what happens.
Just assess a risk of thrombosis as a layperson?
Now you could say, it's not that bad, don't act like that, it's just a possible side effect and there are many other pills as well.
But that makes it all the worse.
Because there is no compelling reason to launch this pill now.
This pill is not badly needed to save the lives of millions of people.
There are also well-tested and established alternatives.
The only reason to get this pill out like this is because of the marketing potential of the "magic substance."
You can't blame the pharmaceutical company for that - of course it wants to make money.
And it stuck to the rules.
Who can be accused of, are the supervisory authorities - including the legislature.
What does this have to do with the legislature, some might ask?
If a woman decides to use hormonal contraceptives, then she will also be educated and thought about the risks, the possible assumption.
But here are a few reasons why the doctor prescribed the pill for my friends and I when I was teenagers without giving any major information about the risks: menstrual pain, mood swings, curiosity, and bad skin.
In many cases back then, sex was more of a daydream.
And that it is not exactly easy for medical laypersons to find out about the risk of thrombosis and to classify them correctly, we can see in a society-wide debate on Covid-19 vaccines.
Because that's what's happening right now: on the one hand, the risks and side effects of vaccinations, which can potentially save millions of lives, are being thoroughly tested and publicly debated.
And on the other hand, a pill, for whose entry there is no urgency whatsoever, is simply approved.
While the overall low risk of thrombosis with vaccination means that some vaccines are no longer recommended for certain age groups, it is not even tested with the new pill.
Actually, I shouldn't be surprised anymore.
Women's bodies have this mystical cycle
Women are, it must be said so hard, in medical research, above all, as an obstacle and as "not-normal-people". Almost all medical products are first tested on men's bodies and women are included in later test phases, often in significantly smaller numbers. They are used less often as test subjects and clinical pictures are mostly described on male bodies with male symptoms.
This sometimes has dangerous consequences for women, for example with "some drugs for psychoses, depression, nausea / vomiting", with which "the risk of life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias is twice as high in women as in men," writes the Austrian Ministry of Health . Sometimes they die from undetected heart attacks and sometimes pain is just ignored.
One of the reasons why men, usually healthy young men, are simply better suited for testing: women's bodies have this mystical cycle - yes, that was sarcasm - and that makes drug tests much more difficult.
And of course, women can get pregnant.
Therefore, the safety of a fetus should also be considered in studies.
But, just for information: women sometimes get pregnant in normal life and don't know immediately.
In a world in which women's bodies, women's pain and women's lives are worth as much as men's bodies, men's pain and men's lives, this would of course not be an argument against, but for more tests on both sexes and, oh yes, on various bodies as well.
But that would be expensive.
Injustice can be measured.
And nowadays approving a new hormone in a drug for women without testing the risk of thrombosis is only a small part of a message for society as a whole:
You are not as important as men.
And now swallow!