Addyi Rises Again

July 11, 2018
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Addyi, a drug that made a splash when it was approved in the summer of 2015 as the first “female Viagra,” is back. Its rise, fall, and rise again is an example of shrewd pharmaceutical marketing and the potential dangers it can have on patients.

Addyi, or flibanserin, is a purported aphrodisiac that failed twice to get Food and Drug Administration approval; Sprout Pharmaceuticals (Addyi’s manufacturer) finally snagged approval on the third try by setting up a fake consumer advocacy campaign, Even the Score. The campaign was created by Blue Engine Media, a PR firm hired by Sprout that rallied—and paid—several woman’s groups to accuse the FDA of sexism for refusing to approve the drug. Even the Score also paid for women to testify at an FDA advisory committee meeting that they were suffering from hypoactive sexual desire disorder, a condition previously created by industry to sell another failed libido drug. The pressure worked. Addyi was approved to much fanfare, with the expectation that women would be clamoring for the drug.

The day after the drug was approved, Even the Score posted a victory video and then vanished, having served its singular marketing purpose of getting Addyi through the FDA process.

…continue reading ‘Addyi Rises Again’

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The Hastings Center

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