Historic FDA Meeting On Female Sexual Dysfunction

Source: Even the Score: A Campaign for Women's Sexual Health Equity
Published: 2014-10-28 - Updated: 2015-01-12
Summary: Even the Score Campaign Calls on FDA to Approve Medical Treatment Options for Female Sexual Dysfunction.

As the Food and Drug Administration begins a two-day, landmark public meeting on female sexual dysfunction, Even The Score joined thousands of Americans in calling on the FDA to act urgently to address the lack of treatment options for women who suffer from the most common form of female sexual dysfunction (FSD), a condition that affects millions of American women, their partners and their families.

The first-of-its-kind meeting comes in response to calls for gender equity in sexual health from tens of thousands of FSD patients, patient advocates, clinicians and women's rights activists through the Even the Score campaign, which was launched last summer by a diverse group of women's health and rights organizations after the FDA approved a 26th drug marketed to treat male sexual dysfunction. That approval only heightened the persistent gender inequity in treatment options for sexual dysfunction - as women remained without a single FDA-approved medical treatment for their most common sexual complaint, known as Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder (HSDD), or distressingly low sexual desire.

"The FDA's public workshop represents a historic moment in the fight for gender equity in sexual health and will give patients, patient advocates, health care providers and sexual health experts the opportunity to discuss the issue and the critical need for medical treatment options for women," said Susan Scanlan, Chair of Even the Score and Chair emerita of the National Council of Women's Organizations. "We hope that the outcome of this process is approval by the FDA of safe and effective treatments for women's most common sexual complaint."

A biological lack of desire to have sex negatively impacts the lives and relationships of 1-in-10 American women.

A recent survey of more than 1,000 women by healthywomen.org found that 81 percent of respondents reported that their lack of interest in sex causes personal or relationship distress, and that 70 percent would take an FDA-approved drug for their condition if it were available.

To highlight the absurdity of this inequity in treatment options, Even the Score recently released a parody video of the most recent Viagra ad, which features a woman peddling the iconic male sexual dysfunction drug for the first time ever. Click here to watch Even the Score's parody of that Viagra ad.

Earlier this year, Congresswomen Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, Chellie Pingree, Nita Lowey and Louise Slaughter sent a letter to the FDA on January 27 urging the approval of a drug to treat female sexual dysfunction, citing that it "could have a beneficial impact on the lives of millions of American women and men." And just last week, more than 80 experts in male sexual health penned a letter to the FDA urging the approval of treatment options for women, noting that "we have seen, over the years, the benefits to women of treating their sexually dysfunctional male partners and we expect that treating the similarly affected woman will enhance not just her life but that of the couple. … We believe it is time to give serious consideration to a novel pharmacotherapy for women."

Supporters of Even the Score include: American College of Nurse-Midwives; American Sexual Health Association; Association of Reproductive Health Professionals; Black Women's Health Imperative; CHANGE: Center for Health and Gender Equity; EmpowHER; HealthyWomen; HisAndHerHealth.com; International Society for the Study of Women's Sexual Health; Jewish Women International; National Council of Women's Organizations; National Women's Health Resource Center; Middlesex MD; National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women's Health; National Hispanic Medical Association; Palatin Technologies; Sexual Medicine Society of North America; Society for Women's Health Research; Sprout Pharmaceuticals; Red Hot Mamas; The Blue Thong Society; The Institute for Sexual Medicine; The Women's Research & Education Institute; and Trimel Pharmaceuticals.

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