Schering resumes contrast sales in Brazil

August 5, 1998

Schering resumes contrast sales in BrazilGerman pharmaceutical developer Schering has resumed selling its contrast media products in Brazil. The reinstatement comes after Brazilian authorities forced a halt to sales of all Schering products in the

Schering resumes contrast sales in Brazil

German pharmaceutical developer Schering has resumed selling its contrast media products in Brazil. The reinstatement comes after Brazilian authorities forced a halt to sales of all Schering products in the country after revelations that placebo birth control pills manufactured by the company were sold on the Brazilian market.

The controversy erupted in late June, after the Brazilian media reported that a placebo batch of Microvlar, a Schering birth control pill, had been released on the market and sold to Brazilian women. At least seven women have come forward claiming to have become pregnant after taking the placebo pills.

According to Schering, the company manufactured the placebo pills as part of a test run of a new packaging machine. The batch, consisting of 600,000 Microvlar packages, was supposed to be destroyed after the test run, but Schering believes that some packages were stolen and illegally sold. Schering has recalled all Microvlar pills on the Brazilian market and has collected 900,000 packages.

The controversy prompted a face-off between Schering and Brazilian authorities, who ordered Schering in early July to stop sales of all its products, including contrast media. That ban was lifted in mid-July on contrast media and other Schering pharmaceuticals, with the exception of Microvlar, which remains under suspension. The sales ban had a minimal effect on Schering's contrast media sales, which only constitute 9% of the company's revenues in Brazil, according to a company spokesperson.