- The Washington Times - Monday, June 1, 2015

The Food and Drug Administration is set to consider approving a medicine called flibanserin, dubbed “women’s Viagra,” following pressure from feminists who have accused the agency of gender bias.

“Women deserve equality when it comes to sex,” a group called Even the Score argues in an online petition that’s garnered nearly 60,000 signatures. The campaign convinced 11 members of Congress to pen a letter to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg urging her to take seriously concerns over “gender equity in the approval of treatments for sexual dysfunction,” the New York Daily News reported.

On Thursday, the FDA is set to consider approving flibanserin, which has been rejected twice over concerns about effectiveness and side effects like sleepiness and nausea, the Daily News reported.

Even the Score, backed by the drug’s developer, Sprout Pharmaceuticals, and groups like National Council of Women’s Organizations and the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals, argues that the FDA has a gender bias.

“A biological lack of desire to have sex negatively impacts the lives and relationships of 1-in-10 American women,” the petition reads. “Its official name is hypoactive sexual desire disorder – and it is women’s MOST common sexual complaint. But unfortunately, the millions of women living with this disorder don’t have a single FDA-approved treatment option for HSDD. And that’s while men have 26 FDA-approved treatments marketed for male sexual dysfunction. You read that correctly: 26.”

The FDA has denied any bias, and some women’s groups, including the National Women’s Health Network and Our Bodies Ourselves, say Even the Score is wrong to label the drug’s past rejections as sexist, the Daily News reported.

“I don’t think there is anything sexist about denying approval for drugs that don’t have an adequate risk-to-benefit ratio,” Thea Cacchioni, an assistant professor of women’s studies at the University of Victoria in British Columbia, told The New York Times.

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