Tag Archives: pharmaceutical

The drugs we take end up in rivers, where they affect the entire ecosystem

A new study reports that a whopping 69 pharmaceutical compounds have been detected in aquatic ecosystems. These substances were found to slowly work their way up the food chain, affecting the entire river food web.

While plastic pollution gets the lion’s share of media attention, other types of pollution can also be insidious and damaging. Traces from pharmaceutical products, for instance, are all around us.

“A multitude of biologically active pharmaceuticals contaminate surface waters globally, yet their presence in aquatic food webs remain largely unknown,” researchers write in the new study.

Commonly used chemicals, such as medicines and personal care products, tend to end up in nearby watersheds, where they can accumulate over time. Most wastewater treatment facilities are not equipped to remove them from sewage, and subpar infrastructure further accentuates the problem.

In order to see how much these substances affect the environment in which they wind up, Emma Rosi, an aquatic ecologist at Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies and a co-author surveyed six streams in Melbourne. They were sampled for 98 pharmaceutical compounds — the most exhaustive screening to date. Pharmaceuticals measured included antibiotics, antidepressants, antihistamines, and NSAIDs.

This isn’t a problem that’s restricted to Australia, or only some streams, researchers stress. The drugs we take are reaching ecosystems, and they’re making their way up the food chain — and we still don’t know what effects this has.

“Pharmaceutical pollution is present in surface waters around the world and there are many studies that document this,” she told ZME Science. “Drugs enter the environment via wastewater because many wastewater treatment facilities are not designed to remove them from sewage. Leaking or aging sewage infrastructure and septic tanks are also sources of pharmaceuticals. In many parts of the world, untreated, raw sewage is discharged to surface waters. These sources occur around the world.”

They looked at how these substances are passed up the food chain, particularly focusing riparian (riverbed) spiders. Erinn Richmond, a freshwater ecologist at Monash University in Australia and lead author on the study, explains:

“We focused on riparian spiders because they build their webs over streams and feed on adult aquatic insects as they emerge from the water.”

Their analysis found traces of 69 different pharmaceutical compounds in aquatic insects and up to 66 compounds in riparian spiders. There was a clear trend, with the highest levels being the closest to wastewater treatment facilities or in heavily populated areas with potential septic tank leakage. In these areas, concentrations were 10-100 times higher than the average.

“Stream life is swimming in a mixture of pharmaceuticals,” says Rosi. “Our study is the first to show that this chronic drug pollution can concentrate in aquatic insects and move up food webs, in some cases exposing top predators to therapeutically-relevant doses.”

Even in the “cleanest” areas, the evidence of pharmaceutical pollution was still present.

“Pharmaceuticals were present in every insect and spider we tested – including those collected in Dandenong Ranges National Park,” Richmond notes. “Even this seemingly pristine site was contaminated, likely because people live in the park’s drainage area and visit the park.”

The most commonly discovered pollutant was antidepressants. However, it’s not clear whether this correlated with increased local consumption, or if there is another property of antidepressants that made them appear in higher concentrations.

Unpredictable impact

Although there’s a good chance that this drug pollution takes a significant toll on the ecosystem, the study did not quantify these effects — although it remains an avenue for further research.

“We detected up to 69 different drugs in insects. We do not currently know what it means for a trout or platypus to consume 69 different pharmaceuticals in their diets. What is also significant is that riparian (streamside) spiders are also accumulating many different drugs and likely, birds and bats and other animals that eat stream insects may also be exposed to drugs. Other studies have found that exposure to single compounds including antidepressants can alter the behaviour of fish, but there is so much that we do not know about the effects of these drugs in nature,” Richmond told us.

There is a silver lining, however — all of us can make a difference. Rosi and Richmond told ZME Science that we can, and should be attentive of how we dispose of our medication and pharmaceutical products.

“As consumers there are many ways we can reduce the presence of pharmaceuticals. Properly dispose of unwanted medications or those that have passed their use by date. Take them to a “take back program” for proposal waste disposal. Please do not flush these down the drain or toilet. If you have a septic system, properly maintain your system and ensure that it is functioning. “

Mylan CEO Heather Bresch’s hearing on EpiPen was a complete disaster for the company

Heather Bresch, CEO of EpiPen producer Mylan, testified in front of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee about the drug’s price increase on Wednesday.

Image via Youtube / wochit Business.

Image via Youtube.

The basic rundown of the EpiPen situation is that since 2007 when Mylan acquired patent rights for the device used to treat life-threatening allergic reactions, its price has increased by more than 500%. A two-pack of pens currently has a list price of 608$. Doug Throckmorton, deputy director of the FDA was asked to testify alongside Bresch as there is legitimate concern that lack of a competitor product on the market has allowed Mylan to inflate prices with commercial impunity.

Her prepared testimony released ahead of the hearing gave background on Mylan as a company and addressed some of the key points of the controversy. Congress, however, wasn’t impressed by her answers.

“Looking back, I wish we had better anticipated the magnitude and acceleration of the rising financial issues for a growing minority of patients who may have ended up paying the full [list] price or more,” her testimony reads. “We never intended this.”

The members of Congress had a lot of questions for Bresch, who testified alongside Doug Throckmorton, a deputy director of the Food and Drug Administration. In her defense, she said the company is implementing a number of programs to help patients pay for EpiPens.
[panel style=”panel-info” title=”Here’s the TL;DR version of what went down.” footer=””]

  • Bresch didn’t admit that the company raised EpiPens’ price to increase profits. She failed to present data pertaining to financial and patient assistance programs that Congress requested beforehand. She was unable to provide the info off the top of her head, either. She also said there were no plans to further increase prices in 2017, but didn’t give a definitive ‘no’.
  • Mylan’s EpiPen4Schools program also took a lot of flak — Rep. Tammy Duckworth called it a “monopoly” as schools that enrolled in the program had to sign a noncompete agreement. She was also outraged that most schools didn’t know the president of the National Association of the State Boards of Education, who was lobbying for them to join the program, was Bersch’s mother.
  • Congress also criticized Throckmorton as it felt the FDA’s convoluted approval process allowed this situation to arise. Throckmorton said FDA regulation prevented him from disclosing all the information the representatives requested about any applications for competitor products
  • By the end of the hearing, Bresch faced questions about Mylan’s tax inversions, private jets, and Rep. Earl Carter’s anger over Mylan’s generic version of the EpiPen.

[/panel]

Still here? Ok. Let’s go through the painful (for Bresch) step-by-step of the hearing.

*grabs popcorn*

It doesn’t make sense and we don’t believe you

“We’ve got a lot of questions,” said Rep. Jason Chaffetz, chairman of the committee, at the start of the hearing.

Chaffetz went on to ask how much money Mylan makes off each EpiPen and how much of that money goes towards its executives. He also pointed out that there’s an appalling lack of competition, which allowed for the price to skyrocket.  And when there are lives on the line, “parents don’t have a choice,” he added.

Rep. Elijah Cummings followed Chaffetz, saying he was “not impressed” by Bresch’s prepared testimony. He accused the company of using a “simple but corrupt business model” to cash in big, comparing them to Martin Shkreli of Turing Pharmaceuticals and the execs of Valeant Pharmaceuticals. He also put little faith in Mylan’s pledge to increase patient assistance programs. He referenced Shkreli’s testimony earlier this year, saying he “took his punches” then went back and kept on doing the same thing.

“We’ve heard that one before,” he said. “They never ever lower their prices.”

“I’m concerned this is a rope-a-dope strategy. It’s time for Congress to act.”

Bresch and Throckmorton both gave their prepared statements, which can be read here. Basically, it’s Bresch defending herself and Mylan while Throckmorton details how the FDA is putting effort into ramping up the approval of generics — exactly what you’d expect from a prepared speech.

The Q&A, however, was much more interesting.

Chaffetz asked what the company believed was going to happen when they raised the drug’s price. Bresch tried to explain that Mylan doesn’t actually make a lot of money on the drug.

“This doesn’t make any sense,” he said. “This is why we don’t believe you.”

He asked Throckmorton how many epinephrine products were in the FDA’s que right now, but to Chaffetz’s visible frustration he couldn’t answer the question. When pressed, Throckmorton said he wasn’t allowed to disclose “confidential commercial information” in that setting. Later, the FDA tweeted:

Another issue Chaffetz brought up was Bresch’s mother’s involvement in the issue. A USA Today article reported that she had used her influence as president of the National Association of State Boards of Education to support Mylan’s EpiPen4schools program. Bersch said the story distorted facts and basically shamed Mylan for giving schools free EpiPens.

Rep. Cummings wanted to calculate how much the company spends on marketing compared to what it rakes in. So he asked how much profit the company made off the sale of EpiPens in 2015. He was going by publicly available information but wanted the hard facts from the CEO. In the end, though, he had to figure it out without Bresch’s answers.

“You’re telling me you don’t know how much you spent on patient assistance programs and school-related programs in 2015?” he asked.

This does not look like a man happy about the answers he's hearing. Image via Youtube.

This does not look like a man happy with the answers he’s hearing.
Image via Youtube.

She replied they spent ‘maybe’ 105$ per pack because they had to raise awareness about anaphylaxis. Cummings then asked how much money was pooled into R&D in 2015 — he had to ask twice and went v-e-r-y slowly the second time. Again, Bresch came up short on answers.

“You knew what this hearing was about. I’m asking questions that if you’re the CEO I think that you would know,” he said.

Later, he asked if Bresch agreed that Mylan made hundreds of millions of dollars on EpiPen in 2015 alone, to which she replied that the pens weren’t all of the company’s $11 billion revenue. Cummings asked her again, to which she answered ‘yes’. She was then asked to produce documents showing the revenue on EpiPen (this were requested before the hearing but Bresch didn’t bring them along.)

Rep. Eleanor Norton then asked the question on everyone’s lips: will the price of EpiPen come down? The CEO replied that an authorized generic was the fastest way to make this happen — and, even if the branded product’s price went down, it wouldn’t necessarily make a difference on shelf price.

“What have you done to earn this 671% [compensation] increase?” Norton followed-up.

Bresch first tried to dodge the question by saying Mylan products have saved $180 billion in US expenses. Pressed by Norton, she pointed to the EpiPens Mylan has supplied to schools and in public places. Rep. Stephen Lynch asked how much the company made off of each pen, and Bresch tried to show using poster boards that the company got 235$ from each two-pack for a profit of about 50$. She added that the 300$ generic would make even less than 50$ profit for Mylan. Bresch later told Rep. Scott DesJarlais that she did not plan on increasing the price of the EpiPen in 2017. DesJarlais then asked if she thinks 600$ is too much to charge for the pens.

“We believe it was a fair price, and we’ve just now lowered that by half,” Bresch said.

But if the price was fair, why lower it at all, he asked Bresch. She replied it all came down to people paying closer to the list price, which wasn’t intended.

A mother’s touch

Duckworth raised concerns with the EpiPen4Schools program — to take part, the schools had to agree not to buy it from anyone else. Bresch replied that the schools are free not to join the program if they so wish.

“That, to me, is an unfair monopoly,” Duckworth said. “That’s right, they don’t have to buy them, but your own mother is out there […] passing out your guides for Mylan.”

She added that most schools had no idea the person lobbying for the program was connected to the CEO. Rep. Mick Mulvaney discussed government intervention in the project. He said that Congress talked about an industry it didn’t fully understand — but he made it clear that Bresch and Mylan won’t get off easily.

“I’ll tell you what we do know, though, is that you’ve been in our hallways to ask us to make people buy your stuff,” he said, citing that 11 states have laws requiring EpiPens be available in schools. “You’ve lobbied us to make the taxpayer buy your stuff. […] I was here when we did it.”

“You came and you asked the government to get in your business, so here we are today. And I was as uncomfortable with some of these questions as you were […] but I have to defend both my Republican and Democrat colleagues for these questions because you’ve asked for it, so I guess this is my message. If you want to come to Washington, if you want to come to the state capitol and lobby us to make us buy your stuff, this is what you get. You get a level of scrutiny and a level of treatment that would ordinarily curl my hair, but you asked for it!”

Rep. Earl Carter discussed the issue of pharmacy benefits managers, companies that serve as middlemen in negotiating the price of drugs. He’s been investigating this type of companies as he believes they’re part of the reason why patients are paying more and more for prescription drugs. Bresch agreed that more transparency is needed in this regard. Talking on the subject she also brought up the company’s authorized generic, which didn’t go over well.

“You know I know better than that,” Carter said. “Don’t try to convince me that you’re doing us a favor.”

He said that if Mylan had reduced the price of their EpiPens in the first place, they wouldn’t have received rebates from PBMs. Carter requested Bresch to follow up with more details about Mylan-PBM contracts.

Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman then asked how Bresch came to the hearing, to which she replied she had flown in from Pittsburgh where Mylan’s US corporate offices are based on a private jet. Coleman then asked about the company’s tax rates. Last year, Mylan moved their headquarters to the Netherlands and has since had a 15-17% tax rate, down from roughly 20-25% the year before — this, Coleman points out, means the company pays less on their taxes than the average American. During the discussion, Bresch said that the company is “physically” run out of their Pennsylvania offices, where the execs are based.

“This is a sham and a shell, and it’s really sad to hear this,” Coleman said.

Chaffetz also discussed the EpiPen’s classification under Medicaid as a “Non-Innovator Multiple Source Drug.” Bresch said that the status was decided before the company acquired the patent.

By the end of the hearing things weren’t looking very well for Bresch.

“If I could sum up this hearing, it would be that the numbers don’t add up,” Cummings said. “It is extremely difficult to believe that you’re making only $50 when you’ve just increased the price by more than $100.”

“It just feels like you’re not being honest with us,” he added, saying some of the numbers and charts Bresch used during the hearing seemed over-simplified.

It seems that the representatives took previous dealings with Turing and Valeant Pharmaceuticals to heart with Cummings saying that Mylan’s arguments sounded a lot like what they’ve heard before. Bresch and Throckmorton have been given 10 days to provide the committee documents to answer some of the points that weren’t satisfactorily answered during the hearing.

You can watch the full hearing here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f60bxayNYpg

An analgesic molecule discovered in its natural state in Africa

Nauclea latifolia (also know as the pin cushion tree) is a small shrub, relatively common, used in traditional medicine throughout the sub-Saharan regions. Of course, African traditional medicine is not often your first choice when it comes to a treatment, but what if I told you that this plant produces large quantities of molecules – identical to those found in one of the most popular analgesics – Tramadol ?

Fotolia_50050157_S-466x657

A team of researchers led by Michel De Waard, Inserm Research Director at the Grenoble Institute of Neurosciences studied the plant and showed that the molecules are identical to Tramadol, a wholly synthetic medication that is used world-wide as a painkiller. This is the first time ever that a synthetic drug chemically produced by the pharmaceutical industry has been found in significant concentrations in nature. Tramadol is used to treat different disorders, including epilepsy, fevers, malaria, insomnia, or simply pain.

The plant was used more or less for the same things in the area, especially in Cameroon. Without even suspecting what they would find, researchers set out to isolate the analgesic compounds in the plant’s bark, and much to their surprise, they found that this component was already commercially available.

Credit: The structure of Tramadol, compared to morphine.

Credit: The structure of Tramadol, compared to morphine.

“It was identical to Tramadol, a synthetic medication developed in the seventies and often used to treat pain”, explained Michel De Waard, Inserm research director. “This medication is used world-wide, because although it is a derivative of morphine, it has less side effects than morphine, in particular addiction problems.”

In order to confirm their results and eliminate any possible error, scientists then set out to test it in a lab environment – their results were confirmed by 3 independent laboratories.

“All results converge and confirm the presence of Tramadol in the root bark of Nauclea latifolia. On the other hand, no trace of this molecule was detected in the aerial part of the shrub (leaves, trunk or branches)“, explained the researcher.

Finally, to eliminate any other risk of possible outside contamination with the drug, they also analyzed the plant’s roots, thus confirming what was already clear. Dried bark extracts contain between 0.4% and 3.9% Tramadol – extremely high levels of the substance.

This research opens up a big door for potentially cheap (or even free) treatment, while also validating the concepts of traditional medicines (as decoctions made from barks and roots).

 

Via Inserm.

biofilm

World’s water streams affected by pharmaceutical pollution

A new study stresses the overlooked hazards that dumped pharmaceuticals found in wastewater pose to the world’s freshwater streams. So far, the impacts and consequences on water quality and aquatic life are unknown or under researched, and the authors hope their findings might warrant more work in this direction.

Dr. Emma Rosi-Marshall, lead author of the study published in the journal Ecological Applications and a scientist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, looked at how  six common pharmaceuticals influenced similar-sized streams in New York, Maryland, and Indiana. These were caffeine, ciprofloxacin, metformin, cimetidine, ranitidine and diphenhydramine. The synthetic compounds that end up in the world’s streams as a result of aging infrastructure, sewage overflows and agricultural runoffs are in much greater number, however, ranging from stimulants and antibiotics to analgesics and antihistamines.

The focus of the study was on biofilms or the slippery coating found on stream rocks, as they’re most easily recognized as. These coatings, made out of algae, fungi, and bacteria all living and working together, are center to supporting aquatic life and greatly influence water quality, as they recycle nutrients and organic materials, while also making up a fundamental food source for invertebrates, which at their own term form the basic food source for other animals, like fish.

biofilm

The authors’ findings suggest that the effects of waste pharmaceuticals are worrisome and need to be controlled. One of them, for instance, antihistamine has been found to dry out biofilms, while when exposed to diphenhydramine a 99 percent drop in biofilm photosynthesis was experienced. Diphenhydramine also caused a change in the bacterial species present in the biofilms, including an increase in a bacterial group known to degrade toxic compounds and a reduction in a group that digests compounds produced by plants and algae

“We know that diphenhydramine is commonly found in the environment. And its effect on biofilms could have repercussions for animals in stream food webs, like insects and fish. We need additional studies looking at the concentrations that cause ecosystem disruption, and how they react with other stressors, such as excess nutrients,” said  Rosi-Marshall.

Other substances’ influence on water biodiversity and quality were also found to have a measurable effects both alone and in combinations, using pharmaceutical-diffusing substrates. More work is required, however, for a broader picture of how various drugs, both alone and in mixtures, effect the freshwater stream environment. Results so far stress that a more thorough looks is required and considering most water treatment facilities in the world lack the necessary tools to filter out pharmaceuticals, the situation all of a sudden seems a lot more serious than at first glance.

Powerful new painkiller with no side effects could be just one year away

Unfortunately, pretty much every human being with access to medical care has taken some sort of painkillers at some point – unfortunately because of the reason; but painkillers don’t make the pain signal go away. What happens is the signal still goes to the brain, but the opiates such as morphine alter the way the brain “understands” it, and as a side effect, also alter the patient’s judgement, and also can lead to addiction. However, this new type of painkiller that is being developed by researchers from the Stony Brook University works in a totally different way, and so far, it showed absolutely no side effects or addictive qualities.

This offers a major paradigm shift in the control of pain,” declares Dr. Simon Halegoua, Professor of Neurobiology & Behavior at Stony Brook

During the 1990s, the professor teamed up with Dr. Gail Mandel and Dr. Paul Brehm to identify a novel sodium ion channel involved in the transmission of pain. Basically, they were trying to find the “wire” that transmits the pain signal to the brain and find a way to “cut” it.

“When a patient is given an opiate like morphine, pain signals are still transmitted from sensory nerves to the central nervous system. Morphine action throughout the brain reduces and alters pain perception, but it also impairs judgement and results in drug dependence,” explains Halegoua, also director of the Center for Nervous System Disorders at Stony Brook University. “With drugs targeting the PN1/Nav1.7 sodium ion channel, the pain signals would not be transmitted, even by the sensory nerves. And since the central nervous system is taken out of the equation, there would be no side effects and no addictive qualities.”

Of course the benefits for such a painkiller would be absolutely huge, bringing the elimination of pain to people suffering from a number of diseases, from cancer or arthritis, to migraines or burns. It is still yet in clinical trials, but the odds are in just a year or two, it will hit the market – it will be interesting to see what pharmaceutical companies will do with other painkillers when this one comes out.
Picture source

Of pain and marijuana

The sun begins to ooze off outside of Birmingham, England. It’s tea time. A woman stands alone in her house, making herself a nice warm cup. After the tea is done, she stirs a half spoon cannabis in her tea, in an attempt to seek relief from pain and spasms caused by her multiple sclerosis. This desperate attempt to get rid of the chronic pain for just a few hours is, in the eyes of British justice, a crime.

She realizes what she’s doing; doesn’t take the drug lightly, or for recreational purposes. She’s also aware that it could get her prosecuted, and yet she still refuses to take the daily 13 pills she’s been prescribed, and instead chooses to use cannabis, which gives her 3 hours of relief. In case you don’t know, multiple sclerosis is one of the worst diseases you can have. It’s basically a degenerative disease of the central nervous system, with symptoms including pain, paralysis, loss of balance, etc.

“When I wake up in the morning my knees, my ankles, I have all these muscles pull my leg to the left so I find it hard to walk straight,” she said. “With cannabis these symptoms recede to a point where I can walk OK-ish. I want politicians to be nice to me… I’m sick.”[..] “I just don’t want to take the route of taking 13 pills a day when I can just use one medicine – cannabis – and I feel fantastic using it,” she said.
“I’d rather take the risk of breaking the law than go through that.”

medical_marijuanapreview

So why doesn’t she just take the pills ? Well, first of all they have a sum of negative side effects that include high blood pressure, ulcers and even the risk of heart failure and psychosis. They also just don’t work sometimes, or require an increase of dosage at regular intervals. I don’t know, but I’m guessing they’re also very expensive. As for cannabis, well, the risk of negative side effects is almost neglectable. You can literally grow it yourself, and it’s accepted (even recommended) by more and more countries in medical situations. The medical uses of marijuana are numerous, including multiple sclerosis, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, arthritis, and cancer. It greatly reduces pain and nausea, spasms, depression and sleeping disorders, and patients who used it reported a significant increase in the general quality of life.

To my knowledge, this is the only natural plant that’s illegal. The real irony here is that just by watching TV for a couple of hours you’re bombarded with commercials for powerful medications with numerous possible side effects, but they’re perfectly legal; even more than that – they’re recommended.

Via BBC, who I’d like to thank

Devil’s Claw brings new hope for arthritis

devilsclaw03webDeep in one of the warmest places on the planet, in the Kalahari desert, there lies the ‘Devil’s Claw’, a plant that may hold the key to effective treatment to arthritis, tendonitis and numerous related illnesses that affect millions and millions each year. Despite being a ‘desert plant’ the Devil’s Claw doesn’t thrive in extreme drough, like the one the Kalahari desert has seen in the past few years. This lead the plant to the brink of extinction so scientists are trying to find out ways to grow it, or grow other plants that produce the same valuable chemicals, or produce the chemicals in a lab.

Today was the 238th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS). At that meeting, they described the first successful method of producing the active ingredients in the plant, ingredients that have already made the Devil’s Claw sought after by more and more people who use it as alternative medicine – with amazing results. Researchers hope this will eventually lead to ‘biofactories’ that could produce huge quantities of the needed substances at low costs.

They started studying this plant when they found out that native populations from South Africa have been using it for generations in a number of conditions, from fever and diarrhea to serious blood diseases.

“In Germany, 57 pharmaceutical products based on Devil’s claw, marketed by 46 different companies, have cumulative sales volumes alone worth more than $40 million.”, said Milen I. Georgiev, Ph.D., who delivered the report

“The Devil’s Claw faces significant problems with its natural renewal, especially low rainfall,” Georgiev notes. “These problems are driving efforts to find alternative ways to produce high value compounds from the plant, independent of geographical and climatic factors,” he says.

Another extremely interesting fact (though not directly related) is that 25 percent of ALL medicines prescribed in industrialized countries comes from plants, most of which are endangered, so these biofactories that could ensure fast growth rate and genetic stability for the necessary plants could be crucial.

“Our target aim is to develop such technology, so we are paying attention not only to fundamental scientific tasks, but also to those related to some of the technological problems associated with hairy root biofactories,” Georgiev said. “It is the desire of each scientist is to see the fruits of his work. In the current case, we hope to be able to develop cost-effective laboratory technology for production of these pharmaceutically-important metabolites within the next five years.”

Sex without condoms makes people happier

condoms2

Burn them! Burn them all!!!

Well, it seems all we’ve been writing about lately is sex and jelly fish (there’s a connection somewhere, I just can’t put my finger on it, so to speak). A recent controversial study conducted by Scottish psychologist Stuart Brody concluded that sex without condoms significantly boosts both men and women’s mental state, making them happier and less depressed.

He actually cited studies which indicate that using condoms repeatedly can lead to depression. Go figure! Professor Brody argues that we are biologically programmed to enjoy unprotected safe more because it ‘gives couples an evolutionary advantage and maximises the chances of reproducing’. Of course this theory attracted the ire of many, including Tony Kerridge of Marie Stopes International, a leading sexual health and reproductive health organisation.

“Particularly in the case of casual relationships where there is no desire to get pregnant, advice should always be that condoms should be used. It really is a no-brainer as far as we are concerned. We are seeing some of the most rapidly increasing rates of HIV among heterosexual couples in Europe.”

However, Brody replied:

“Evolution is not politically correct, so of the very broad range of potential sexual behaviour, there is actually only one that is consistently associated with better physical and mental health and that is the one sexual behaviour that would be favoured by evolution. That is not accidental.”

Keep in mind though that this study refers only to condoms and not other forms of contraception. That being said… take care and be happy!