Contraceptive Technology Innovation: A Wise Investment
As long as women and men find current family planning methods unacceptable, unaffordable, or inaccessible, there will be a need for contraceptive technology innovation. A job easier said than done. Reproductive physiology is complex, and contraceptive product development is not for those seeking immediate gratification; a novel idea evaluated today might be ready for market introduction 10 to 15 years from now, assuming all goes well.
Over the past several months, K4Health and the CTI Exchange collaborated on a blog series that looked at contraceptive technology innovation from three angles: First, some broad stroke considerations were offered as to why we need to make additional investments in this field and how future research needs to be framed.
FRAMING THE NEED FOR CONTRACEPTIVE TECHNOLOGY RESEARCH
- Building the Case for Contraceptive Technology Innovation
- When Developing New Contraceptives, Begin with the End in Mind
- Getting Behind Human-Centered Design for Contraceptive Innovation
- Building the Foundation for Developing Next-Gen Contraceptives
- Today’s Dreams, Tomorrow’s Reality? Contraceptives that Reliably Eliminate Menses
- Why Women-centered MPT Development Matters
- Why Male Contraception?
The series then explored some exciting technologies currently under development – both hormonal and non-hormonal concepts—some for women, some for men.
INNOVATIVE TECHNOLOGIES IN DEVELOPMENT
- The Buzz about Microneedle Patches
- High-tech Fertility Awareness: Moving Beyond the Beads
- Male Contraceptives in the Pipeline
- Biodegradable Implants: A Novel Idea Revisited
- Injectable Contraceptives: Refining a Well-established Method
- Blocking Sperm by Reinforcing Cervical Mucus
- Vaginal Rings: The Future is Now
Lastly, bloggers shared success stories and lessons learned from introducing some new and underutilized methods into new markets. Sino-implant/Levoplant®, female condoms, and subcutaneous DMPA (DMPA-SC) were featured.
SCALING UP EXISTING and UNDERUSED METHODS
- Introducing Sayana Press into Senegal’s Method Mix
- Empowering Women Who Want to “Stick” with Contraception
- A Chicken or Egg Dilemma: Reducing Commodity Costs when Scaling up Contraceptive Implants
- A Fresh Start to Female Condom Marketing
- Overcoming Regulatory Barriers to Increase Female Condom Access
Leaders from two research institutions, with a combined 90 years of engagement in this field, offered up a call-to action blog to close out the series. In “Contraceptive Technology Innovation is Everyone’s Business,” Julia Bunting, OBE, President of the Population Council, and Laneta Dorflinger, PhD, Director of FHI 360’s Contraceptive Technology Innovation department shared this call to action: “Everyone must be engaged to move the science of contraceptive technology innovation forward—to bring it out of the laboratories and get it to the people who need it on the ground. We are convinced that a win/win/win outcome is reachable: a win for advancing the science of contraception, a win for socially responsible women’s health companies answerable to their shareholders, and a win for the millions of people who deserve a full range of contraceptives to meet their changing needs.”
Be sure to check the CTI Exchange blog over the next several months as we continue this important conversation.