Indian medical students campaign to end use of illegal contraceptives
- By: Sanjit Bagchi
Medical students in the eastern Indian state of West Bengal have helped to launch a campaign to educate women in rural villages about the dangers of using quinacrine and erythromycin for contraception.
The campaign was launched by the Society for Social Pharmacology after the Indian press published articles claiming that some doctors had been prescribing the drugs.
Quinacrine, originally used as an anti-malarial drug, was banned by the Indian government after a Calcutta based gynaecologist used it as a permanent method of sterilisation on more than 30 000 women in the 1990s. And earlier this year a newspaper story sparked controversy when it revealed a secret trial using the common antibiotic erythromycin as a contraceptive.
Swapan Jana, a demonstrator of pharmacology at Chittaranjan National Medical College, is spearheading the campaign: “We are trying to enlighten rural women so that they cannot be used as guinea pigs for experimental contraceptives.”