Of course it would be even better if women didn’t have a horrific time with side effects – or get “laughed out of the room” if they ask for help with the diaphragm – but at least they were being listened to.
There were some warm words about the importance of supporting a woman’s choice but not much else.
Victoria Derbyshire asked if women “really needed” all these options, and only half-heartedly asked if drug company funding might influence the Advisory Group for Contraception.
Of course she didn’t have limitless time, and of course the group wants to improve women’s health - but it would still be good to ask them, and Bayer, these two questions:
1. As the film mentioned, some of the hormonal methods are very expensive, can Bayer reassure the public that they are not, like Pfizer, overcharging the NHS for their products? Especially when it comes to emergency contraception?
2. Could the group, and Bayer, sign up to the All Trials campaign for all research trials to be registered and reported? Bayer has funded a huge amount of research but has yet to join the campaign. Their research could provide huge benefits for women’s health – and help to answer some of the questions about side effects and risks.
These are important points. You don't have to be Ben Goldacre to know it's not a good look for clinicians or policy makers to have too cosy a relationship with Big Pharma, or to push their products too hard.
At the moment, many of us don't tell our doctors how we avoid pregnancy because we can't face their disapproval. We use condoms, fertility awareness, apps, withdrawal - and back it all up with a "just in case" supply of emergency contraception.
Wouldn't it be good if we didn't have to lie to our doctors? These methods can all work well, but you need to know what you're doing. We need support, not lectures. As one of the women says in this Debrief report “if we can fly robots to Mars surely we can come to understand women’s health and serve women better than we do now?”