Letter 25: Letter from Mackenzie
I wanted to write to you as your story deeply resonates with me. As I am looking at the best birth control options for myself and talking to my friends and family members about what options they are interested in/are using, I reflect on your experience with Yaz.
Yaz, Yasmin, Beyaz, Safyral and similar pills with countless generic names, are birth control pills that contains the hormone drospirenone. Drospirenone-based birth control pills have higher risks and side effects than other types of oral contraceptives, such as an increased risk for blood clots.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) knows about the safety risks of oral contraceptives containing drospirenone, and your parents described this evidence to the FDA’s Advisory Committee. The facts are clear, as Yaz and other drospirenone based birth control pills made by Bayer and generic drug companies are twice as dangerous as other forms of contraceptive on the market. But the FDA failed in its mission to serve the public when they allowed this drug to stay on the market, especially when safer alternatives were available. No one should have been prescribed this medication.
Getting on a birth control method is a way in which many individuals protect themselves, and the fact that it may not be safe is scary. This drug was vetted by a government agency and then prescribed by your doctor—Why? They were supposed to protect us and verify that the products and prescription drugs we are using are safe and effective, but that doesn’t seem to be the case regarding Yaz.
Women should be advocates for their own reproductive health and learn about the risks and benefits of their contraceptive options, but we shouldn’t be held responsible for knowing all of the potential implications that these drugs may have. The FDA should take these prescription drugs off the market when they are proven to be more dangerous than other alternatives. Patients shouldn’t be put in a position where they may be unknowingly at unnecessary risk because they are taking the birth control pills they have been prescribed. We aren’t doctors, we don’t have the information and medical knowledge required to make these life-altering decisions. Regulatory measures should be keeping us safe, but since that isn’t the case, policy reform is needed to ensure that the interests and safety of patients are a top priority.
The George Washington University Class of 2021