It's a product targeted at her 38-year-old mother. But it’s 16-year-old Pihu Vohra (name changed) who is using the widely advertised emergency contraceptive Intelligent Pill, or iPill, that can prevent pregnancy if taken within 72 hours of having ‘unsafe’ sex.
Pihu isn’t the only one. “This month, at least 10 to 12 teenagers have come to us for the iPill,” says Vinay Malik of Apollo Pharmacy, Kailash Colony. “After I learnt about the pill, I decided to be doubly safe,” says Divya Goel (name changed), a Class XI student. Now, her partner uses the condom and later, she pops the pill.
“This can be very harmful as it’s a hormonal pill,” cautions gynaecologist Dr Rita Bakshi. Frequent use can cause ovarian damage and menstrual problems, especially among younger girls, she adds.
“Because it’s an over the counter product, one doesn’t need a prescription,” says Rahul Arora of Inder Medicos, Safdarjung. The trend, says Atul Shah of Atul Medicos, Karol Bagh, is more prevalent among the affluent class. “But it’s bound to spread,” says RS Gupta of Paras Chemist, Saket. An industry official says, “The iPill is meant for women aged 25 to 45. Chemists should not sell it to youngsters.”