On May 12, women activists protesting the commercial launch of the controversial contraceptive, Depo Provera, stormed a press conference held in the Capital by Max Pharma, the company launching the contraceptive in India. Max Pharma -- licensed to market Depo Provera in the country in collaboration with the US-based company Upjohn -- has been permitted to market it by the Drugs Controller of India, subject to post-marketing surveillance.
While the company maintained that it was offering women an "informed choice", the activists insisted on the necessity of a "safe choice". However, the company pharmacologist admitted that clinical trials conducted in Chandigarh and Bombay in the '70s found that Depo Provera users tended to suffer from irregular bleeding and a delayed return to fertility. About 23.4 per cent of the 134 women studied discontinued use for medical reasons. It has also been found that women under 35 run a higher risk of breast cancer by using Depo Provera.
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