The initiative of Pincus, Chang, and Rock at the Worcester Foundation for Experimental Biology in the 1950s, coupled with the expertise of the pharmaceutical industry, led to the development of the first oral chemical contraceptives in the 1960s. This discovery stimulated a vigorous expansion in chemical contraceptive research in the pharmaceutical industry. Djerassi (1970) recently estimated that during the years 1965–1969 the combined expenditure in contraceptive research of five major pharmaceutical companies (Eli Lilly, Ortho, Syntex, Searle, and Upjohn) was about $68 million, and for all companies was about $100 million. However, the increasing constraints placed upon the industry by the need to meet strict, costly, and time-consuming requirements of the government drug regulatory agencies, the negative influence of the press, legislative and political pressures, and the present lack of basic knowledge in reproductive physiology have now produced a contraction of contraceptive research in the pharmaceutical industry. Some companies have completely stopped research, others have sharply cut research support due to the inherently high commercial risk in this field.
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