Banning the pill

A dangerous birth control pill will soon be banned in India

Published: Saturday 04 July 2015

The Drug Controller of India, on March 16, has written to the Supreme Court that the use of Quinachrine, a drug used for female sterilisation, should be banned in India. The decision came following a joint writ petition filed by the All India Democratic Women's Association faculty members of the Jawaharlal Nehru University's (JNU) Centre for Social Medicine, which was heard by the three bench headed by Justice A S Anand.

Quinachrine, chemically known as "6-chloro-9-(1-methyl-4 diethylamine) butylamino-2-methoxyacridine", was used as an anti-malarial drug during World War II. In the late 1960s, Jaime Zipper of Santiago, Chile, discovered contraceptive properties in Quinachrine ( Down To Earth Vol 6, No1, May 31, 1997). The tablets designed in pellets form, when inserted causes inflammation of the inner lining of the fallopian tubes and eventually the scar tissue blocks the tubes, thus preventing pregnancy.

In the early 1990s the Indian Council of Medical Research, after a limited trial on women, gave up the method because of complications. Still, there were enough takers for the drug in private clinics and government hospitals in Delhi, Calcutta, Bangalore and Patiala where women were being used as guinea pigs.

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