“It’s powerfully GOOD news,” said Dr. Northrup when she received word of a Congressional Resolution asking the FDA to rescind its ban on the use of the bio-identical hormone estriol. So, despite popular belief, women who are concerned about their health care and who want to explore all options really can fight city hall.
Last January, the FDA announced that estriol could no longer be used in estrogen medications customized for women by compounding pharmacies. Estriol has long been a component of 90 percent or more of these customized preparations prescribed for women by their doctors. In a big win for a woman’s right to choose her best health care options, Congress resolved to protect the doctor-patient relationship from FDA interference.
In our In the News report in April, Dr. Northrup expressed her strong feelings about the FDA’s move to ban estriol. “I don’t want the FDA to ban estriol because once they do this, they’ll start in on other bio-identical hormones as well. Then, when women need hormonal support, all they will be left with are synthetic substitutes that are less effective and also more dangerous! Women deserve the right to the best treatment possible. And that treatment is often based on the wisdom of Mother Nature, not Father Pharmaceutical!”
In fact, it was “Father Pharmaceutical” in the form of Wyeth Pharmaceuticals who initiated the move to have estriol banned by the FDA. Dr. Northrup called the assertion that estriol is not a safe alternative to synthetic hormones, such as Wyeth’s Premarin and Prempro, “completely ridiculous.” Used in Europe and Japan for hormone replacement for many years, estriol has never been associated with adverse events or other health or safety issues. Dr. Northrup stresses the importance of keeping individual health care options open, including the right to choose bio-identical hormones like estriol.
The FDA ban on estriol was met with a noisy round of protests from women, doctors, and pharmacists who saw the federal agency making a misguided bow to pressure from a major pharmaceutical company. A near record number of complaints were filed with the FDA regarding the ban requested by Wyeth.