OTCs in Action Episode 8: Procreate & Protect

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Did you hear the story of the Egyptian bus driver who tried to avoid a random drugs test by using his wife’s urine? According to the Al-Yawm al-Sabi website, after the driver confirmed that he had submitted his own urine, officials said: “Congratulations, you’re pregnant.”

While the bus driver likely greeted this news with mixed emotions, achieving a positive pregnancy test can be a frustrating and heartbreaking journey for many people. This week, OTCs in Action are the new home tests kits that can help prospective parents to conceive. Each year 11mn couples will try to have a baby and about 7mn of those couples will have fertility issues. Yet while male infertility accounts for half of all infertility problems, mainly owing to low sperm count, only 20% of men have their sperm levels tested. The new SpermCheck home test kits, currently rolling out in the UK and US, identify whether men have normal or low sperm counts. The problem can often be reversed with lifestyle changes such as eating a healthy diet and avoiding smoking and alcohol. The availability of a simple, convenient and cost-effective home test can allow a couple to easily identify, and possibly remedy, a possible roadblock to pregnancy at an early stage.

2014 has been a watershed year in the expansion of at-home testing. The French Parliament adopted a bill allowing the mass market sale of pregnancy and ovulation tests, ending the pharmacy monopoly on those products. In Japan, The Council for Regulatory Reform has proposed the Rx-to-OTC switch of 49 types of diagnostic tests, among them colorectal cancer screening kits, which can give consumers life-saving information. The Australian Government has also taken an important step in protecting public health this year by removing a restriction preventing the manufacture and sale of HIV home self-tests.

OTC.NewDirections keeps Nicholas Hall & Company clients up to date on scientific and regulatory news. Visit www.nicholashall.com/otc-newdirections to set up your free 30-day trial.

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