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Health ministry drops plan to launch injectable contraceptive in family planning programme

Joseph Alexander, New Delhi
Monday, March 28, 2011, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

Wilting under pressure from the Opposition and the public interest groups, the Centre has dropped the idea of introducing injectable contraceptive, Depot Medroxyprogesterone Acetate, in the official family planning programme.

Though the Health Ministry also had backed the proposal to introduce the injectable contraceptive in high fertility districts of the country, the Government now made it categorically clear that there was no such move. But the drug can be used in the private market, sources said.

“The Drug Technical Advisory Board has so far not recommended introduction of the Depot Medroxyprogesterone Acetate (DMPA) which is an injectable contraceptive in the family planning programme of the government,” according to official sources.

However, it is learnt that many of the members of the DTAB at its meeting last year were in favour of introducing the injectable contraceptive to check the high population growth. The health ministry, in principle, had also backed the idea especially for States like Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.

But, the Government later came under criticism for the move, especially from the Opposition parties. Rajya Sabha MP Brinda Karat had sent a letter to Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, claiming the introduction would be a harmful step and damaging for the health interests of women. “The programme cannot be just focused on population control, but has to be about safe contraception,” Karat said in the latter.

Some women’s organisations also raised the matter claiming that post-market studies were not held properly in the country and it had many side effects. Besides, they claimed that the injection could be administered by specialists only.

DMPA, a progestin-only long acting reversible hormonal contraceptive drug, is used in many countries, but had its share of controversies too. Its brand Depo-Provera from Upjohn company got approval from US FDA in 1992. It was approved and being used by 9 million in more than 90 countries including UK, Germany, Sweden, Thailand, New Zealand and Indonesia. The DMPA got licence in India also during the 1990s.


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