To the Editors of The Crimson:
We would like to express our concern regarding the extensive promotional program for The Encare Oval. The FDA report of May-July 1978, concludes that The Encare Oval has been "over-promoted." In reference to the several half-page advertisements appearing in The Crimson recently, we would like to focus attention on the following points:
1) The advertisement claims that "The Encare Oval was subjected to one of the most rigorous tests ever conducted." The FDA reports that it "is concerned that this survey was poorly assembled and consists largely of testimonial evidence. The agency considers promotion and labeling based on this data to be over-promotion."
2) According to the advertisement, "Because The Encare Oval is inserted in advance, it won't iterrupt lovemaking." We feel that the mandatory 10 minutes delay following insertion before intercourse may be considered an interruption.
3) The sperm-killing agent, nonoxynal 9, is not unique to The Encare Oval "but is an active ingredient in several other products (Conceptrol, Delfen, Koromex, Ortho-Creme, etc.)." The FDA thus concludes that The Encare Oval should be considered "no more or less effective than the other vaginal contraceptive drugs available." The actual use/failure rate for these products is 20-30 percent, and according to Our Bodies, Ourselves are, thus, best used in conjunction with a condom.
We have had several inquiries as to whether The Encare Oval is effective when used without a condom. We feel that the approximate efficacy rate as mentioned above, does not warrant complete dependence on The Encare Oval alone: A condom should be used as well. Though a convenient, non-prescription product, The Encare Oval is not as "overwhelmingly satisfying" as advertised. We feel that The Harvard Crimson, having accepted advertisements for The Encare Oval, as well as others in the Harvard community, should know the facts, and make an intelligent choice for themselves. Nadja Gould, Supervisor Peer Contraceptive Counselors University Health Services