• Exchanges

New article in Nature is a clarion call to “Reboot contraceptives research”

Around 40% of pregnancies worldwide are unintended, meaning unmet need for contraceptives remains a major global health challenge with about one-third of women discontinuing hormonal methods in the first year of use mainly due to side effects or health concerns. According to authors of an article published in Nature, new, effective and more desirable contraceptive options are urgently needed.

The authors lay out reasons behind the persistent contraceptive needs gap and call for a “coalition of innovators, researchers, biopharmaceutical firms, donors and investors to come together now to produce better contraception for women.”

The authors explain that contraceptive R&D suffers from a lack funding or “cycle of neglect,” which is driven by a myriad of issues, including stringent regulatory requirements, liability risks, and the lack of strong market information. This is compounded by the fact that women’s health issues are under-studied and under-funded in general. However, these obstacles are not impossible to overcome. “There is a huge global market, and exciting tools are ready to help develop what women want.” Potential innovations include genomic tools and digital tools like menstruation and fertility-tracking apps. Their solution also calls for collaboration across sectors and among stakeholders, as well as strong private-public partnerships.

So, is it time to reboot contraceptives research? Read the full open access article here.