An inexpensive male contraceptive is ready to launch, except it’s missing one important thing: support from drug makers. Sujoy Guha, a 76-year-old biomedical engineer invented an injectable gel contraceptive that is struggling to find a pharmaceutical company willing to sell it, reports Bloomberg. Called RISUG for Reversible Inhibition of Sperm Under Guidance, the product is similar to a vasectomy but easily reversible with a second injection, explains an archived male contraceptive advocacy website.
“The fact that the big companies are run by white, middle-aged males who have the same feeling — that they would never do it — plays a major role,” explained Herjan Coelingh Bennink, a gynecology professor experienced in developing contraceptives, to Bloomberg. “If those companies were run by women, it would be totally different.”
According to the news organization, RISUG is as good as condoms, preventing pregnancies with about 98 percent effectiveness. The contraceptive is cheap too, costing only about $10 in poor countries. So far, the drug has been tested in India, where condoms are infrequently used due to social stigma and privacy issues, reports Bloomberg. A source tells the site that 540 Indian men have received the treatment so far. The country has the largest portion of married women whose birth control needs are unmet.
Women are usually the ones who bear the responsibility for birth control. According to the Guttmacher Institute, a research center, four out of five women have used oral contraceptives. The pill and female sterilization are the two most common methods, reports the organization. About 51 percent of all contraceptive users are women while male condom users make up about 15 percent of all contraceptive users in a month.