Ads are Spreading Wrong Message about Pills: Experts
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18 September 2009
By Supriya Shelar
Is it the fast lifestyle that forces working women to avoid unwanted pregnancies instantly by using emergency contraceptives or the catchy advertisements showing the “Easy” way to adolescent girls?
Healthcare providers attribute the rapid spread of the pills to both. The advertisements do not explain the ill–effects of these pills, instead they wrongly promote them as regular contraceptives. They must include the opinion of doctors and statutory warnings regarding side–effects, say health professionals. Gynaecologists firmly recommend the use of regular contraceptive measures. “The government should ban the advertisements and the pills should not be available over the counter for off label use,” urged gynaecologist Dr. Sunita Tanulawadkar.
Commenting on the objectionable presentation of the ads, IVF consultant at Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital, Dr. Anand Shinde said, “In one of the ads, an unmarried girl calls up her mother at midnight and the mother casually advises her to take emergency pills.. She doesn’t care about educating or guiding her daughter about sexual health and hygiene.”
Is a social situation like this becoming so common that the central government has to make these pills available over the counter (OTC)? Dr Shinde noted, “The ads are spreading the wrong message of bypassing the gynaecologists. Especially in metro cities like Mumbai and Pune, which are the hot spots of HIV/AIDS, it will be a double risk to promote such ads.”
Arati (name changed), a 29–year old woman, tried the pill once, only to regret later. “I was under the impression that it was the easiest way, but I suffered badly from abdominal pains and vomiting after a few hours,” she said, offering her advice that the pills should not be used without first consulting a gynaecologist.
Reacting on the emerging trend of widespread use of these pills among teenage girls, a college going girl Smita said, “Due to freedom, the youngsters may feel nothing wrong in having sex followed by these pills, available readily.”
Objecting to the advertisements showing young couple ‘Tension free’ after sex, Vibhavari Deshmukh (name changed) said that the ads are too obscene to watch at home along with family and children.
The assistant commissioner of Food and Drug Administration, Pune, S T Patil agrees with the opinion of the experts and suggests filing a Public Interest Litigation against the ads.
Ill-effects of the Pill
"The pills may cause nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, heavy bleeding, a feeling of breast tenderness, disturbance in menstrual cycle and there are chances of unexpected vaginal bleeding. Chances of failure of emergency pills in around 3 per cent cases also cannot be ruled out. Prolonged use and consumption in large amounts may affect fertility in the long run," warns Dr Sunita Tandulwadkar