Stop the presses on female libido drug story

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Headlines from around the world today read:

‘Female Viagra’ may boost sex drive

Boehringer’s Desire Drug Boosts Lust, Improves Sex

New drug could boost women’s libido

Desire Drug May Prove Sex Really Is All in Her Head

Anti-depressant can revive a woman’s libido

Coming soon! A ‘viagra’ for women

Meet Your New Experimental Sex Drug

But John Mack of the Pharma Marketing Blog reacted this way to a Bloomberg story:

“So, compared to placebo, women taking BI’s “desire drug,” flibanserin, experienced 0.8 more “satisfying sex acts” per month than did women taking a placebo. That’s about 0.2 more per week.

By the way, a “satisfying sex act” can include … wait for it … masturbation! …

“The U.S. market for medicines to rekindle female desire could exceed $3.5 billion a year,” said the Bloomberg article. Isn’t that more than the current US sales of Viagra, Cialis, and Levitra combined? That seems like a lot of money to pay for 10 or so yearly masturbatory sexual acts in patients who take these “desire pills.”

Boy, I wish I could see the clinical trial data. I am sure it’s all very scientifically valid…NOT! I mean, how do they measure a “satisfying sexual act?” I’m pretty sure they do not hook women subjects up to some kind of gizmo as Pfizer has done to measure erections in men who take Viagra (see “Pfizer’s Erection Hardness Meter”).

…God help us if FDA approves this snake oil product! If you thought the Viagra ads were inappropriate, wait until you see Congress’s reaction to ads showing women experiencing increased sexual libido. Whichever ad agency wins that account will have a lot of interesting issues to deal with.”

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Caroline (

November 17, 2009 at 10:22 am

Good point! i’m NOT looking forward to those ads, but the rate this new drug is getting blown out of proportion, i bet i will be forced to mute them sometime soon.
I feel certain that the people researching this drug do not understand, or care to understand womens sexuality from a whole health perspective. im pretty sure that the money spent testing and advertising this drug, snake oil or not, would be better spent addressing the cultural, psychological and relational elements that form a lot of womens sexual health problems- though i am not a doctor.

patty king

November 17, 2009 at 2:02 pm

It would be great if the drug manufacturer was required to put the results of the experiment on the bottle. “Women taking BI’s desire drug,experienced 0.8 more satisfying sex acts per month than did women taking a placebo. That’s about 0.2 more per week.” Now that would be playing fair. I think if they did the experiment again using wine as the test drug the results would be much more than almost 1 more satisfying sex act per month.

Dr. Stephanie Buehler

November 18, 2009 at 5:24 am

As a sex therapist, I promise you that sexual desire is so much more than simply a measure of how many sex acts are performed in a month. I don’t think a lot of men are going to feel excited that their partner has to take a pill in order to feel like having sex with them.
On the other hand, I could see some need for a medication like this, for example, after treatment for cancer.
My fear is that it will be marketed like M&Ms. What will women learn about their true needs if they pop a pill instead of figuring it all out?