Pills for lactating mothers removed

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 27 April, 1994, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 27 April, 1994, 12:00am

MOTHERS who breast-feed are being short-changed by drug companies which no longer supply suitable contraceptives for them, doctors said yesterday.

A gynaecologist in Central said he was angry that Microlut, the only contraceptive pill in Hong Kong suitable for breast-feeding, had been withdrawn because of low profits. The sole diaphragm supplier had withdrawn similarly last year.

Condoms were not suitable for breast-feeding mothers because hormonal changes could reduce natural lubrication and make sex uncomfortable, he said.

''Women have a choice of risking pregnancy or using a sub-optimal form of contraceptive,'' he said.

He said companies had a duty to supply certain drugs and appliances, even if they were slight loss makers.

And he disputed the Family Planning Association's statement yesterday that breast-feeding women did not need contraception because lactation was a natural method. Breast-feeding certainly was not adequate, he said.

Many breast-feeding women cannot use the usual oestrogen-progestogen pills because oestrogen reduces breast milk. The progestogen-only pill also was used by women with heart disease and a history of blood clots.

Another gynaecologist said his practice had resorted to importing the progesterone-only pill Microval from Australia, and also small stocks of diaphragms.

A spokesman for Shearing, the sole supplier of Microlut in Hong Kong, said only about 1,000 women had bought the product and it was not worth continuing.

A spokesman for Johnson Ltd, which discontinued supply of diaphragms last year, said it had been a commercial decision. It still had a few smaller and larger sizes in stock.