Letter: A modified welcome

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The Independent Online
Sir: As a leading distributor of the oral contraceptive pill, Schering Health Care Ltd is concerned that a misleading impression was given by your article 'A welcome new option for women' (5 August) with regard to a new contraceptive product: Norplant.

In particular, the view expressed that Norplant may provide more effective contraception than the pill is not borne out by evidence and may lead to concern among your readers who rely on oral contraception. Published evidence, of which there is a great deal, indicates that Norplant's reliability approaches the reliability of the pill, but only in the first two years of its recommended five-year life.

There is also ample evidence that Norplant's reliability is dependent on body weight (it is significantly less reliable in overweight users).

A final and important point is that clinical trials have shown that not all patients complete five years' use. This indicates that not only would Norplant be more expensive than stated, but also much less acceptable to women than the article implies.

I am sure you would agree that in an area that impacts upon so many women it is important that information provided in such articles is balanced and realistic.

Yours faithfully,


Medical Director

Schering Health Care Ltd

Burgess Hill, West Sussex

12 August