Why We Can’t Have the Male Pill

Published: Aug 03, 2017

The trouble began, as it so often does, with a bottle of Chivas Regal.

Back in the 1950s, scientists at Sterling Drug, a now-defunct pharmaceutical company, synthesized a class of chemicals that made male rats temporarily infertile. They thought they might be onto something big: the first-ever birth control pill—for men. After identifying several promising compounds, including one known as WIN 18,446, a trio of researchers began testing them on a ready population, inmates at the Oregon State Penitentiary.

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