She created Addyi, the first FDA-approved drug for women with low libidos, and sold the company that created it —Sprout Pharmaceuticals — for $1 BILLION last year.
Now Cindy Whitehead has created the Pink Ceiling … a venture to help more women focused businesses get the funding they need to skyrocket like she did.
A fitting name given Cindy’s signature pink outfits and matching lipstick, the new company is a cross between a VC firm, a ‘pinkubator’ and a consulting enterprise. Her mission is to mentor, invest in, launch. and build other women led or focused businesses, helping them come to market and scale.
Worthy aims and by all accounts, Cindy is the real deal — brilliant, beautiful, driven, warm, and ready to take on more.
She has been an invited speaker at Fortune’s Most Powerful Women, at the Fast Company Innovation Festival, SXSW and Inc. Women about what it takes for breakthrough business success.
But, there’s a BIG problem…
The FDA approved the drug flibanserin (sold under the brand name Addyi) for the treatment of women with hypo-active sexual desire disorder (HSDD) in 2015.
Australia hasn’t followed suit, though flibanserin is available through internet pharmacies. However, its limited effectiveness and serious side-effects should cause potential users to rethink purchasing flibanserin online.
Originally trialled as an antidepressant, flibanserin found new life as a treatment for low sexual desire in women.
After being rejected for approval by the FDA in 2010, developers Boehringer Ingelheim transferred the rights to Sprout Pharmaceuticals, which finally and controversially secured FDA approval in August 2015.
The US FDA approval process was mired in controversy, particularly in relation to the active role of Sprout Pharmaceuticals in lobbying. It funded a high-profile public advocacy campaign called Even the Score, which misleadingly claimed the drug was initially rejected because of FDA sexism.
Despite counter campaigns by scientists and doctors, the FDA scientific advisory committee voted 18 to six in favour of approving the drug, with the condition that risk-management options were put in place.
The committee members were concerned the drug had significant risks from side-effects, and the approval attracted widespread criticism that it allowed politics to trump clinical science.
Within hours of the FDA approval, Sprout Pharmaceuticals was acquired by Valeant for $US1 billion. Valeant set the price of Addyi at $US800 per month, leading to accusations of price gouging.
Sales have flagged even further as insurers refused to cover the drug.
Welcome to the murky world of pharmaceuticals, government lobbying and huge pricing...
Why is this important?
Nearly one-third of women suffer from a lost interest in the cuddly aspect of life… if you know someone affected, you might notice they’re not as joyful as they used to be.
Loss of sexual desire, known in medical terms as hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD), is the most common form of sexual dysfunction among women of all ages. A recent study showed that nearly one-third of women aged 18 to 59 suffer from a lost interest, and it's not all in their heads.
Unlike men, women's biggest problem in this area is caused by a combination of both mental and physical factors, which aren't likely to be cured by merely popping a pill according to experts.
"Women's sexuality tends to be multifaceted and fairly complicated," says sex psychologist Sheryl Kingsberg, PhD. "Although we would love to simplify it so we could have the one-two or even a one-punch treatment, it doesn't tend to work that way.”
What does work?
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Having a good love-life is just one indicator that you’ll live longer…