Group asks FDA to pull birth control patch off market

Arguing that it's a far riskier treatment than the pill, consumer advocacy group Public Citizen has asked the FDA to pull the birth control patch Ortho-Evra off the market. Over the last few years, health risks associated with the weekly patch have been discovered, including higher rates of blood clots than women who took birth control pills. This is thought to be the case because patients absorb up to 60 percent more estrogen with the patch. Since 2005, the FDA has updated the patch to include clot warnings but otherwise left the drug alone. On the other hand, the warnings may have had some effect, as demand for the patch has dropped from 9.9 million scripts in 2004 to 2.7 million in 2007.

In the mean time, there's been a flood of state suits against patch-maker Johnson & Johnson, which has been sued by more than 3,000 women and their families, all claiming that its FDA-approved Ortho Evra patch caused harm by delivering much more estrogen than expected.

To learn more about the group's request:
- read this Associated Press item

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