Action Alert! Stop Plans for Quinacrine Sterilizations in Florida!

Date Published: July 17, 2006
Source: Reprinted with permission from: Kaiser Daily Reproductive Health Report 10/6/98

QUINACRINE: Controversial Sterilization Pellet May Be Used In U.S.

A Ft. Lauderdale, FL, doctor may begin using quinacrine, the "controversial method to sterilize women without surgery," within a month or two despite the fact that the Food and Drug Administration has not approved the drug for sterilization purposes, the Miami Herald reported. Dr. Michael Benjamin, "part of an activist group of doctors who believe the technique will improve women's health," calls the chemical pellet "a practical answer to one of the world's biggest problems-overpopulation," and said he would provide it free to low-income Florida women and for $200 to women who can afford to pay. "U.S. regulators want more tests on animals" to determine whether the drug causes cancer or harms a fetus "before approving quinacrine for contraceptive use." Preliminary tests indicate "that between two and five of every 100 chemically sterilized women become pregnant after one year," the Herald reported. Officials concede they "have no authority to discipline physicians who use quinacrine obtained legally from pharmacists." The FDA says, however, that "it has cracked down on quinacrine self-sterilization kits sold over the Internet."

Questionable Motives

Use of the drug for sterilization purposes has "touched off a worldwide debate about its medical risks and the motives of immigration-control groups sponsoring it for the sterilization of Third World women," the Herald reported. Vietnam, Chile and India have banned it, and a Swiss company that made the pellets announced it would no longer manufacture them. Proponents of the "Q-method" contend it is "safer and cheaper than surgical sterilization," and anticipate it will eventually "outpac[e] even the pill." While opponents contend the use of quinacrine "smacks of eugenics, racism and contraceptive imperialism," Benjamin "sees the Third World as quinacrine's biggest beneficiary." Drs. Stephen Mumford and Elton Kessel, who supply the pellet to Third World countries, are working on bringing the drug to the U.S. Mumford said, "I never believed that quinacrine would be limited to the Third World" (Freedberg, Miami Herald, 10/4).

Reprinted with permission from: Kaiser Daily Reproductive Health Report 10/6/98

From Dr. Benjamin's web page:

"At BSS International, we are eagerly awaiting the first shipment of Quinacrine in pellet form to be produced in the U.S. We expect no difficulty in making QS immediately available to the significant segment of our family planning patients who wish to be sterile but for medical, financial or psychological reasons are not candidates for surgery. Our view is that the current state of knowledge of QS (over 100,000 cases reported) combined with published USP data allow conformity with the FDA's "off-formulary use" regulations. In order to further expand our understanding of QS, we are considering offering, on an elective basis, minilaparoscopy on follow-+up exam to confirm effectiveness. We are equipped for transvaginal hysterosonography and might employ this modality as well." Dr. Michael Benjamin, http//:www.drbenjamin.com/QS.htm

Send letters of concern to:

Michael Benjamin, M.D.
BSS International
7707 North University Drive
Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33321

or call toll free for more information: 1-888-808-7581