Doctors and Dames

February 24, 2006

It’s a gloomy day for women’s rights, with South Dakota sending up the first flare, aimed straight at the new Supreme Court judges. Women are being put on a short leash elsewhere: March 1, the FDA will impement the iPledge program, which requires women to run through a humiliating obstacle course to obtain a prescription for the acne drug Accutane.

Under iPledge, women of childbearing age must undergo two tests to ensure they’re not pregnant before the initial prescription, and monthly pregnancy testing before each refill. Home pregnancy tests won’t do. The doctor must enter the pregnancy test results into the iPledge system, and the woman must buy her pills within seven days.

These women also must agree to use two forms of birth control while using the drug, and must self-register on iPledge — in addition to the doctor’s initial registration — to report that they’re doing so.

Since it came on the market over two decades ago, there have been 160 babies born with Accutane-caused birth defects. That’s out of the tens of millions of women who have used the drug.

My take is that the vast majority of women are sufficiently motivated to want to avoid having a baby with birth defects. The government needn’t implement programs like this that treat all women as liars and dumbasses.