Controversial Women’s Libido Pill—”Female Viagara”—Is Back

After distribution problems marred Addyi's initial release, the little pink pill has relaunched.

CEO Sprout Pharmaceuticals, creator of Addyi (female Viagra) Cindy Whitehead speaks at Women's Entrepreneurship Day Breakfast Series at Core Club Gallery on February 14, 2017 in New York City. (Chance Yeh/Getty Images)
Getty Images

Addyi, the first drug to enhance female sexual desire, hit the market in 2015 and generated instant buzz. The media dubbed it “female Viagra.” But not long after its release a distribution scandal unrelated to Addyi hit its parent company, Valent Pharmaceuticals, and dragged down the drug along with the rest of the company. During the disruption, there were only about 600 Addyi prescriptions filled in a typical month, compared to almost 800,000 for the erectile dysfunction drugs Cialis, Viagra, and Viagra’s generic equivalent. But on June 11, Addyi was relaunched in an online prescription service.

Advocates for the little pink pill always point that unlike Viagra, which is a question of blood flow, Addyi, which is taken daily, focuses on restoring a woman’s sexual appetite for sex and treats a specific medical condition: hypoactive sexual desire disorder, or HSDD.

But opponents of the drug say that women shouldn’t be shamed by drugmakers into thinking there is something wrong with them and that it is typical for a woman’s desire to wax and wane throughout her life.

With the drug’s relaunch, a public discussion surrounding a very private topic is occurring: What is a healthy sex drive? And who gets to answer that question?

The InsideHook Newsletter.

News, advice and insights for the most interesting person in the room.