Two pills, two paths: a tale of gender bias


In Japan, it took over 30 years to register the contraceptive Pill, but it took only six months to approve Viagra. The Pill was developed in an academic institution and no large pharmaceutical manufacturer wished to market it. Viagra was developed inside a big company and actively promoted. In the USA, the Pill was almost removed from the market because of widely publicized reports of deaths, but mortalities associated with Viagra do not make the headlines. Viagra has been promoted by the famous, whilst those who use the Pill do not appear in advertisements. Even theologians have treated these two drugs according to different standards. It is suggested that this asymmetry is not accidental, but is an expression of a deep-seated dual standard that is ultimately driven by biosocial differences in male and female power, and reproductive agendas rooted in human evolution.

Published in Endeavour, 2003, 27(3):127-30

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Malcolm Potts
Publication date: 
September 3, 2003
Publication type: 
Journal Article