Gianvi, a repackaged and renamed generic version of Bayer’s flagship contraceptive Yaz, is under scrutiny after its parent company admitted to inappropriate labeling practices.
According to Bayer, the company marketing Gianvi has admitted that it falsely labeled the generic medication. For example, it claimed that the medicine contained Bayer’s “technology” that extends shelf life. Let’s lay aside the fact that a chemical pill cannot contain “technology,” only combinations of chemicals. This is more than a simple mix up; it means there’s a drastic difference between the perceived shelf life of the medicine and the actual shelf life. This means more costs to be spent informing people of the problem, with no word on exactly how the information will be spread out to consumers.
Think about the recalls and information campaigns you’ve encountered lately. How many of them took the form of a genuine, informative commercial during prime time television or radio hours, where a large audience could hear about them? Now, how many do you recall that took the form of a small, badly-positioned flyer at the local drugstore?
This amounts to a further complication in the complicated generic question. Gianvi has the same risks of heart disease, blood clot and stroke that Yaz and Yasmin carry, yet it’s marketed and advertised under a different name. Now the medicine is subject to a relabeling that focuses on the packaging, without further addressing the information that this drug has been linked to a number of cases, ranging from middle-class women to Broadway stars, of serious health complications. It results in a further muddying of the waters and a lack of quality control, all stemming from the rapid proliferation of the original medication in generic forms.
Yaz, Yasmin and Gianvi, despite the established risks and dangers taking them compared to earlier-generation progestins, continue to be some of the biggest sellers for Bayer and the generic manufacturer Teva Pharmaceuticals.