Are we willing to make doctors into mere robots?

July 15, 2014
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By Lea Z. Singh |


Some years ago I filled out a prescription for Yasmin, a birth control pill that is often prescribed, as in my case, to control acne for young women. Luckily the warning label scared me enough that I ended up throwing those pills in the garbage. I felt a bit foolish but followed my gut against the assurances of my doctor, who considered those pills the equivalent of Tylenol.

If we strip our doctors of their conscience in order to do our bidding, we’ll be chasing away the very doctors who might protect us most.

He was wrong. Yasmin made headlines last year when it was linked, together with another birth control pill, to the deaths of 23 women in Canada. This February the European Medicines Agency also admitted that the blood clot risks of Yasmin and similar newer birth control pills are much greater than previously thought.

The EMA’s statement came on the heels of a French report showing that about 20 French women per year died between 2000 and 2011 as a result of fatal blood clots from such ‘third-generation’ pills. All British physicians have now been ordered to warn their patients about the potentially fatal risk of blood clots associated with these pills.

But all this is apparently not enough. Nor is it enough that the World Health Organization has classified oral contraceptives as “carcinogenic to humans.”


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