A testosterone patch touted as a treatment for women with low sex drive has attracted criticism in a leading medical journal after being granted a fast-track review by the US Food and Drug Administration.

The transdermal patch, Intrinsa by Procter & Gamble, is the first drug targeted at a controversial condition called hypoactive sexual desire disorder. As such it has invited comparisons to Viagra, the infamous treatment for erectile dysfunction, has garnered much media coverage and promises to pave the way for similar treatments by other pharmaceutical companies.

But articles in this week’s British Medical Journal (BMJ) have sounded an alarm, pointing out that there is insufficient data on the drug and potentially misleading marketing.

“As it turns out,” writes award-winning medical journalist Ray Moynihan, “the key trials of the patch have all been funded by the company, several key ‘thought leaders’ in the field, including some trial investigators, have financial ties to the company, at least one of the investigators is a company employee, and the measurement scales used in the trials were also funded and designed with input from Procter & Gamble.”

More here.