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Birth Control Sponge Returns

Available Over the Internet, Should Be In Canadian Stores Soon
WebMD Health News

March 6, 2003 -- The contraceptive sponge - famously depicted in a Seinfeld episode -- has returned, at least on the Internet.

Allendale Pharmaceuticals, the company that purchased the rights to the Today Sponge from its previous manufacturer, has begun selling the product on two Canadian Internet sites. It will also soon be available in stores across Canada, according to published reports.

The company reportedly expects the FDA to approve a relaunch of the sponge in the U.S. within a year.

The sponge made its debut in 1983, and became a popular female birth control method available over the counter. But when the FDA discovered bacterial contamination and other equipment problems at the previous manufacturer's New Jersey production plant, the company decided to stop selling it to avoid the cost of upgrading the facility.

An FDA "talk paper" indicates it was only the manufacturing conditions -- not the sponge's safety and effectiveness -- that were objectionable.

The sponge helps prevent pregnancy by covering the cervix. It also contains a long-acting spermicide.

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