DESPITE the Catholic Church’s strong opposition to artificial family planning methods, an anti-pregnancy pill is making a comeback in the country.

Organon, an international pharmaceutical company and the pill’s manufacturer, is the manufacturer of progesterel, a progestogen-only pill is specifically targeting the lower class by introducing the pill at a substantially lower price before its official release in the market next year.

“We fully respect the stand of the Catholic Church, which is firmly against artificial family planning methods. Our opinion is that all Filipinos should have a fully informed choice and make their own decisions,” Francesca Ballmer, Organon’s Philippine general manager, said in a press conference last Feb. 3.

Desogestrel is only the fifth progestogen-only pill out in the market. Its main ingredient is derived from the roots of a Mexican wild yam. First introduced in 1981, it is expected to reach out to the poor after the company reduced the plant-based pill’s retail price to P75 per strip (28 tablets), 70 per cent less than the original price.

The contraceptive pill targets the 48.1 per cent of female population which, according to the National Demographic and Health Survey of 2003, chooses pills over other anti-pregnancy methods.

The progestogen pill works by suppressing ovulation. It also thickens the cervical mucus, making it difficult for sperm cells to penetrate the cervix.

As side effects, Desogestrel can also supposedly cure acne after six cycles of treatment and lessen menstrual pains or dysmenorrhea.

Although the pill has been rumored to be an abortifacient, Dr. Sylvia Santos, Organon’s medical adviser, said this is a misconception since pregnancy must first occur. She explained that the pill only prevents ovulation.

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The Catholic Church opposes the use of contraceptives as these promote adultery and premarital sex, in defiance of Catholic teachings on natural method of withdrawal or abstinence. Mary Rose M. Pabelonia

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