Friday, August 13, 2010

Watch Out for "Contraceptive" Drugs!


Just saw a story about a French drug company called HRA Pharma getting FDA approval on its "contraceptive" drug, EllaOne.   Why do I put a quote around the word contraceptive?  Well, it's because the drug is not a contraceptive at all.  It is technically an abortifacient, a drug which causes an abortion, as well as a contraceptive.  I would even go to say that the company is grossly misleading (if not committing fraud against) the public in advertising it as a contraceptive, which, by definition, is a device in preventing pregnancy.

What is different about EllaOne is the increased duration of up to 5 days after intercourse (from 3) that the drug could be effective.  The drug has several functions.  First, if ovulation has not occurred, it prevents ovulation from occurring.  Second, if ovulation has already occurred, it could prevent fertilization.  These two effects can be considered as contraceptive, because fertilization has not occurred.  A third effect can also occur, which is the prevention of implantation of the fertilized embryo to the uterus.  This third effect is effectively an abortion.  This is because life, as Catholics understand, begin at fertilization.

So, what does this have to do with investing?  Lots!  First, we know we should definitely not invest in HRA Pharma.  Second, as I have mentioned before, since drug companies make so many drugs, it is difficult to keep track of every single product that they have.  Therefore, it would be difficult for us to be confident that the drug company in which we have invested is completely ethically sound.  Even if they were ethically sound, the drugs that they make could have side effects that no one has discovered yet, and it happens all the time.  You hear about drug recalls or stories about new drugs causing deaths in patients.  I know I wouldn't be able to sleep well at night if I knew my money could be funding a company that has questionable ethics and products.

As a result, I do not recommend owning shares in any drug company.  There is just too much at stake.