I hope you didn't click that title looking for wisecracks. I plan to discuss Procter & Gamble's
Yesterday, the consumer-products giant -- best known for brands like Tide, Crest, Pringles, and Mr. Clean -- announced that a second phase 3 clinical trial had demonstrated the safety and efficacy of its testosterone patch, to be called Intrinsa.
The concept itself sounds simple. Research has long shown that testosterone has a role in women's sexual desire. In a test group of more than 500 women who had their ovaries removed and who suffer from Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder (HSDD), there was a statistically significant increase in sexual desire and performance among women who received the patch. The results were consistent with a separate, 500-plus subject trial that was released last month.
The stakes are high. Though P&G's trials have been narrowly tailored, estimates of women's sexual dysfunction in the overall population reach as high 43%. Being the first mover into that market means big things for P&G's top line.
But treatment for sexual dysfunction is controversial. As P&G's own researchers acknowledge, the causes are complex, and many therapists maintain that they're largely psychological. In fact, a small 1997 study suggested that antidepressants like Pfizer's
P&G hasn't offered a timetable for getting the drug cleared, but has said it hopes for it to be on the market next year. That would put it well ahead of the nasal spray that Palatin Technologies
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