Wednesday, October 10, 2007

I-Pill: let's talk about family planning

"Had I known my wife had forgotten her birth control pills, I would've been careful last night."

"My husband and I are worried our family planning method might have failed last night."

Now what to do? The ad copy explains: Take the I-pill - an emergency 'day after contraceptive pill.

You can't miss the hi voltage campaign Cipla has unleashed for its product. What's interesting is how safe the advertiser has kept his communication. Husbands and wives, birth control and family planning. You know - we Indians have sex only when married and more so use contraception because producing another child into this world would mean additional burden to the nation.

OK, seriously, words like 'family planning' disappeared from our vocabulary approximately two decades ago, along with slogans like 'hum do, hamara do'. The inverted red triangle which was everywhere you turned when I was a kid has been banished.

Heck, we're no longer ashamed of our billion plus population but flaunt is as a dhinchakly large consumer market.

But getting back to the i-pill you can see why the advertiser is treading soo..o cautiously. He wouldn't want to be accused of corrupting our Indian youth and so on and so forth.

Indian Express reports:

As the revelries of Navratri draw closer, condom once again has become the bad word. While the NGOs working for AIDS control are steering clear from condom promotion programmes that they usually launch during the festival, the Bajrang Dal has said it will not tolerate any condom promotion or HIV/AIDS awareness programmes around Garba venues this time.

Talking to Newsline, an NGO worker, on the condition of anonymity, said they used to put up stalls at various Garba venues to create public awareness about HIV/ AIDS. This time, however, they will not do so, he added.

“Last time, some activists claiming to represent the Hindus, had beaten up NGO workers in Baroda during Navratri while they were distributing condoms,” the NGO worker said, adding that they have decided against carrying out overt intervention programmes this season. “We will carry out one-on-one intervention programmes instead, and supply condoms to hotels and guesthouses” he said.

Wonder whether the dals will stake out these venues as well!

According to a pharmacist quoted in the report, "sale of condoms rise by about 70 per cent during Navratri". And this year I am sure the I-pill will rock as

"After iPod, I-pill gains popularity with youth", says Midday:

Alka Kumar, a consulting gynecologist at Gurunanak hospital in Bandra, says, “This product is a boon for married women not planning to conceive. But it may be misused by the youth especially during Navratri when unmarried pregnancies go up.”

The reason for all the action around Navratri is related more to opportunity than anything else. A lot of young people, esp girls, are allowed to stay out late. Dressed in sensuous chaniya cholis and whirring to the dandiya beat , hormones are bound to get into a tizzy. Pehle hota tha, ab bhi hoga. Instead of a botched abortion, many a young woman will opt for an i-pill.

But the two messages "prevention of pregnancy" and "prevention of HIV/ sexually transmitted diseases" have become independent of each other. The i-Pill can help with the first bit but do nothing for the second.

It would be terrible if young people decide to adopt the convenient route: Condom nahi hai? Koi baat nahin - you can always use the i-Pill. So let's go ahead anyways.

That's not what the advertiser has intended, but I bet a lot of folks will interpret it that way. If we accept that the i-Pill will be used by unmarried guys and girls, we can address this issue.But hello, yeh hai India. We will have to continue the charade and keep promoting 'family planning'.

Why not bring back the red triangle as well? Dunno - it just makes me nostalgic :)


  1. If my understanding is not wrong.
    That advertisement used to come on DD.

    Now DD is run by the gov.
    Now Gov. is really not interested in nation building or public interest!!

    So gov. does not have time to put that add back on air.

    Private channels have no interest in public awareness as well unless that acts in some indirect benefits like branding etc.

    Plus they cater more to urban areas which are not very good but better than rural areas when it comes to family planning.
    So private channels gain nothing by airing it in any form.

    So who will put that red triangle back on air again ?

  2. Even if the ad shows husband & wife, I really don't think cipla is targeting just them.. There is a second ad which came recently ..It shows a young lady and a guy..Nothing in that ad suggests they are married.

  3. "It would be terrible if young people decide to adopt the convenient route: Condom nahi hai? Koi baat nahin - you can always use the i-Pill. So let's go ahead anyways."

    Yes, it will be terrible if they get infected with HIV this way, but it is their personal choice. Naturally, if they don't use the morning after pill, they will get infected with HIV and run the risk of getting pregnant.

  4. If you see the logo of i Pill it is an artistically done interverted red triangle

  5. i-Pill is indeed clever. Te advertiser has communicated tat i-Pill is strictly for those couples who failed to take protection or whose pretection indeed definitely. Its definitely not for te frivolous young thingswho cat upon impulse. But nobody wil stop them if they use it though. Te TVCs say i-Pill is safe. Where as te print version lists out numerous side-effects.

  6. loved the "dhinchakly large market" phrase...

    the i - pill is meant to be taken under extenuating circumstances - such as rape. it is NOT meant to be used as a routine / regular contraceptive measure. but sadly, this is what the communication seems to be promoting or wanting to achieve.

    while this may discourage condom use - there is yet another fallacy that i would like to point out.

    a condom does NOT provide foolproof proetection against AIDS and STD's.

    seems like celibacy may be the ultimate answer !!

  7. I think I have seen a magazine double spread ad of i-pill which very categorically lists the following for "When should you use i-pill"

    - When your contraceptive may have failed
    - If your wife forgot to take her pills
    - Forced Sex

    I think the intelligent reader and I believe the user would know that this is not an alternative to contraceptive but a rather emergency if other things fail. And it would indeed be very sad if the young minds use this as a contraceptive.

  8. My 2 cents, I think other than the married and impulsive ones, this is also relevant to a lot of couples in a live-in relationship or people who are steady into a relationship and give in to each other in convenient circumstances. In these cases, you are not expecting to be infected with HIV as you are serious about the girl or guy.

  9. exactly my thoughts... I would like to add some more... do you remember the earlier ads of condoms on DD1... giving emphasis on not to indulge in a physical relationship outside your marriage... and the later ads... which became quite liberal and the message was "at least use condoms..."

  10. आई पोड के बाद आई पिल, हर उस चीज की मांग बढ़ जायेगी जिसमे मस्ती है. अब ये कितनी अच्छी है कितनी ख़राब ये तो उपयोग करने वाला जाने लेकिन जो एक दो नाम मेरे जेहन में आ रहे हैं जो मस्ती देती है लेकिन मेरे लिए ख़राब हैं वो है ओर्कुत जो चिरकुट की तरह लगता है, नेट पर पोर्नोग्राफी साइट्स देखना इससे बुरा तो कुछ हो नही सकता और अब ये आई पिल. ये जित्नो का भला करेगा उससे कही जयादा समाज में बुराईया ले आएगा

  11. If we think of an extend one can think that it can be helpful for many out there..but I wonder what kind of serious side effects it can bring to our society. Who knows how they got things cleared for the pill. Waise bhi yeh hai 'India' jaha anything works. Just for example we have so many artificial medicines in the market. So whats the gurantee that this i-pill is not one knws what side effects it has bcus no one has used it may be will have to ask the ginny pigs!

  12. Hmmm... Pill 72 was always available, but not advertised. The only diff. between that and I-pill is that there are two pills to be taken in pill 72, so this is more convienent. it's very strange though, that the health risks of long term use are not being specified in the ads because it could be a bane for conception later on. And what about std's?

    So now every lil girl will have unprotected sex and hop on to teh med store for i-pill. yay *said in an extremely bored tone*

  13. whats the cost of that ipill??/

  14. whats the cost of ipill

  15. @ Bapi

    The iPill costs 75 bucks and one packet conains only one pill. Anyways, iPill or no iPill, I'd always suggest a condom!!

  16. Well... here is a little bit of clarifiaction, an article on the front page of Hindustan Times, 21st October 2007, clarified one thing... that i-pill is a harmonal pill and it shouldnt be consumed by young girls. The targetted group is women above the age of 25. The reason given by various doctors was that there is a high chance that this pill may cause harmonal damage and reduce the efficiancy of concieving amongst the young girls as they are still develping their harmonal balance.

    Also I would like to mention here, Condom is the best protection against STD. No contraceptive method gaurantees cent percent protection from unwanted preganancies... efficiancy of condom is 95-97% and one advantage that it does have over other methods is that it does provide certain protection against STDs and HIV/AIDS.

    And lastly, I am sorry to say that we Indians are a bunch of hippocrates when it comes to sex. We are very proud of the fact that we have billion plus population, and about 52% of that population is the youth and we do not want to educate our own youth on the same. Like our ancestors we too put our own future on the trial and error method wherein we will learn on our own. Our politicians need to come of age... before its too late...!!!

  17. A big BS.

    I find no harm in marketing emergency contraceptives than have unsatisfied humans facing depression due to delay in opening the condom pack.
    Its clearly indicated that its not a contraceptive. So whenever its in the elevator or the kitchen platform or the running car, where the heck do you have time for opening the condom pack. Just pop the pill.
    EC 2 and Pill 72 are already popular with such adventure loving lovers. I pill advertised it properly so why blame it for that. But i would always prefer pill 72, safe and no side effects. I pill (used first time) caused lot of problems lately. I pill is costly 75/- and Pill 72 is 43/- so what if there are 2 tablets. Distributors have even encouraged the use if I Pill and hence the shortage of Pill 72, what BS again.

  18. how many tablets containing in one pack of ipill?

  19. Anonymous10:47 AM


  20. What about being a woman and at the receiving end of this advertising campaign? How have women viewed these advertisements? Do these ads have any impact on how both men and women view themselves?

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  31. Hi Rashmi. A quick introduction. I am Sunaina working at Breakthrough, Delhi. This post is most interestingly written and is eye catching and focusses on the most pertinent issue of awareness amongst the youth regarding contraception and HIV And you have managed to put the issue in focus quite well.What comes through is the concern you have exhibited for this issue.

    Breakthrough conducts a very vibrant and robust education programme for youth and community leaders, who we believe will be catalysts for change. Our trainings mostly centre around women's rights, HIV/AIDS and sexuality. And we believe that experiences from the field need to be documented and highlighted.

    Well, I work on a youth oriented site called and would love for you to blog on it. Like I've already mentioned, we have posts very similar to yours, talking about grassroot level experiences both from within and without - in a category called "Rural Window".

    Please visit the site and do write back to me at about your thoughts on the campaign.And if you're interested, do blog on the site as well. And if you're a regular blogger, we'd be happy to put you on our blogroll and crosslink your blog page on our site.

    Thanks and hoping to hear from you
    Sunaina Bhakhri


Disqus for Youth Curry - Insight on Indian Youth