When will men have their own birth control pill? Scientists have been predicting the debut of a male pill within 5 years for the last 30 years. The factors accounting for that delay – and new optimism that a male pill will emerge within a decade – are the topic of a story in the current edition of Chemical & Engineering News. C&EN is the weekly newsmagazine of the American Chemical Society, the world’s largest scientific society.
In the story, Michael M. Torrice, C&EN associate editor, describes the need for a male version of the oral contraceptive pill that revolutionized family planning 50 years ago. For example, there are few choices of contraceptives for men, half of all U.S. pregnancies are unintended, and those pregnancies cost state and federal programs about $11 billion annually.
Despite that need, the few pharmaceutical companies working to develop a male pill have discontinued research during the last five years. The story explains the scientific and regulatory hurdles in developing new contraceptives and describes promising new research on so-called non-hormonal male contraceptives.