DocWire News recently spoke with Dr. Edio Zampeglione, VP & Head of Global Medical Affairs and Outcomes Research at Organon, a company whose vision is to advance the health of women. Dr. Zampaglione spoke about the company’s mission to improve women’s health. He specifically spoke about the impact of unplanned pregnancy in the U.S., and how to eliminate the stigma associated with unintended pregnancies.
DocWire News: Can you give us some background on yourself, and the company, Organon?
I am an OB/GYN private practice for a number of years and joined the industry about 20 years ago, actually started my career at the original Organon. So, it’s kind of great to be back. This company, I’m sure you and your audience knows already, is a spinoff from Merck and it is a women’s health company. It is our main focus and our main mission is to provide innovative health solutions for women.
Specifically, how does Organon focus on improving women’s health?
So, we really, it is agnostic to devices, medical, pharmaceutical solutions, anything. Really what we’re doing is putting the woman first, listening to her, understanding what her needs and unmet needs are, and trying to find those solutions that really improve her life and help her get the care that she really needs and deserves.
Talk to us about the current state of unplanned pregnancies?
Unfortunately, this state has not improved tremendously over the last number of decades. Number of years ago, the unintended pregnancy rate was just over 50% and we’ve made some improvement. We’re down to maybe the mid-40s. So, yes, going in the right direction, but there still is so much more work that needs to be done. There’s still a lot of misinformation and misunderstanding out there. There’s a lot of stigma that goes with a unintended or an unplanned pregnancy. And part of our goal or one of our biggest goals is really to have a good impact on that, to help that number of unintended or untimed or mistimed pregnancies continue to go down and allowing women to lead the lives and careers and everything they want to do.
As a former practicing OB/GYN, what trends did you see in your patients impacted by unplanned pregnancies?
Well, the biggest trend is number one, a lack of understanding and a lack of really good information for them to come prepared to the office, to understand what are the right questions, what are their options. What lies ahead of them for such an important part of their life, which is family planning? That for me, was quite eye-opening back in the day.
What do you believe contributes to the significant number of unplanned pregnancies in the U.S.?
I think number one is awareness or a lack of awareness. A lack of awareness of what are the different options out there. The lack of awareness and understanding that really one contraceptive method does no fit at all. It is important to have different options because at different points in a woman’s lifestyle while one option may have worked before, it may not be the best option at that particular point in time. And that’s really part of our goal and our mission is to help inform women, to help educate women so that they can be in the best position when they go into speak with their healthcare professional, to ask the right questions, to have some level of understanding what are the different options out there for them.
What role can health providers play in eliminating the stigma associated with unplanned pregnancies?
Well, the easiest thing, Rob, is to have the right conversation, to ask the right questions, to understand the importance and appreciate the importance of family planning. As an OB/GYN, we take care of the entire woman, whether are obstetrical, whether just day to day lives, menopause, the whole transition of a woman’s life. And we sometimes get caught up in, well, I need to make sure she doesn’t have cervical cancer or what’s going on with the uterus or the breast, et cetera.
We tend to minimize sometimes the importance of family planning and the real negative impact an untimed or unplanned pregnancy can have on a woman’s life and her plans. So, by appreciating that more, by asking the right questions, by having the willingness to spend those few extra minutes with her to uncover what are her needs and where she is in her life. But it’s a two-way street, it’s also really important and helpful that the woman comes into the office and into the discussion prepared and with a bit more awareness and understandings, I said before.