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Birth control

Ugh. I read on Adrants that a birth control company, Schering AG, has come up with a "my god! who okayed this ad campaign?" ad campaign and launched it in Bangkok.

It involves a motion sensor that activates sounds of a baby crying ... coming from a garbage can. When the concerned citizen opens the garbage can thinking hey, there might be a baby inside, he/she sees not a baby in need, but a large yellow sign suggesting he or she find out more about birth control at their website.

When trying to find out if this was actually real (the website wouldn't work for me), I learned some wonderful things about this company from a paper on Ethics violations (click below to read the relevant piece):

In summary, they were using placebo birth control to try out new packaging and somehow 2 metric tons of the pills, basically made out of flour, made it out into the market. And they didn't tell anyone for 2 months. And at least 11 women got pregnant.

Yikes. I don't even know what to say.

Schering AG

A German pharmaceutical company, Schering AG, was testing flour-based birth control pills as placebo to test a new packaging. Schering claims that the placebo pills were given to a company for destruction, however, two metric tons of the placebo pills disappeared from Schering's plant and were found in the market in Brazil. Schering AG's birth control, Microlav, holds 25% of the market share of 8 million women using contraceptives in Brazil. Schering was contacted, when women became aware of pregnancies despite use of birth control. The company did not take immediate action. They delayed bringing the news to the media for two months. The company admits that they made a mistake in delaying the news since they wanted to investigate the number of cases of women with this experience. They thought it might have been an isolated case and may not need further investigation.

Schering was charged for selling fake contraceptives and was fined $2.5M. As few as 11 women may have become pregnant from using the placebo pill. Although the company alleges to compensate the victims, its terms are viewed unreasonable. Schering demands evidence of use of Microvlar for compensation. Thus far, only two women have been found who used the placebo. The evidence that the two women had was a blister package with the placebo. Since, women may have discarded or used up their supply of Microvlar, many women will not be able to prove their case. Furthermore, for those women who have become impregnated, Schering does not yet state whether they will fund an abortion if needed since it is illegal in Brazil. Therefore, although Schering seems to be making an outright apology and news briefing of the event, the company is doing little to compensate women for its mistakes.