Advocates hope that the reclassification will have practical benefits, too. The idea is that once the paperwork and conditions become less onerous, more manufacturers will start producing internal condoms—and, hopefully, producing different kinds of internal condoms, such as models that come with tampon-like applicators for the more squeamish. The greater competition might then drive down prices.
“When you look at the package of a female condom, it’s all vaginas all the time.”
Despite advocates’ strong belief in the internal condom, the battle to popularize it to the level of its external counterpart is a precipitously uphill one. And even if they’re more readily available, there’s a good chance that Americans still won’t embrace them. After all, there’s less regulatory red tape in Europe, but internal condoms are still not commonly used their either.Still, Semelka is cautiously optimistic. After the FDA’s public consultation period ends on February 2, the agency will consider the comments and determine final action. If the reclassification and renaming does get passed, she says, “It will be on us, then, to take the ball and run with it. The ball is in the FDA’s hands now.”