Last year, a study published by the American Academy of Pediatrics suggested that the rate of transgender identification among America’s youth may be as high as 9 in 100. Considering that adult gender dysphoria occurred at a rare rate of 2-14 in 100,000 less than a decade ago, that quantum leap should give us pause.
But it hasn’t. Partly because this radical trend has resulted in a financial boon for pharmaceutical companies with drugs used in “medical transition” therapy, like AbbVie’s Lupron.
Initially developed to fight prostate cancer, the Food and Drug Administration has approved its use in other areas. The FDA has not, however, specifically authorized Lupron’s administration to obviate the development of sexual features in children suffering from gender dysphoria. Indeed, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton launched an investigation into AbbVie for allegedly promoting Lupron outside of its approved use without disclosing the risks.
“The manufacture, sale, prescription, and use of puberty blockers on young teens and minors is dangerous and reckless,” Paxton said. “These drugs were approved for very different purposes and can have detrimental and even irreversible side effects. I will not allow pharmaceutical companies to take advantage of Texas children.”
AbbVie originated as a spinoff of Abbott Laboratories in 2013. The company’s financial reports show that Lupron has generated more than $5.7 billion in domestic net revenues since then. It’s unclear what percentage of those sales are attributable to Lupron’s use in “gender-affirming” care for gender-distressed youth. What we do know is that Lupron has been a controversial drug from the beginning.
The FDA reports more than 30,000 adverse events for Lupron products, including more than 2,500 deaths. They told horror stories of brittle bones and faulty joints. Unsurprisingly, the company spends a lot of money on marketing and lobbying—more than $55 million in the last decade, according to data from OpenSecrets.
The “gender-affirming” model of care in the United States proceeds undeterred under the assumption that gender reassignment is the best way to help children and the only moral option—neither of which is true. Indeed, that assumption stands on sand, according to Dr. William Malone, an assistant professor of endocrinology and an advisor to the Society for Evidence-Based Gender Medicine.
“Despite more than 50 years of experience with mature adult gender transitions, there is a lack of convincing evidence that transitions improve the psychological functioning of those with gender dysphoria, and studies on regret have been plagued by high dropout rates that prevent meaningful conclusions for practitioners and patients alike,” Malone wrote in Medscape. “Pediatric transitions are a much more recent phenomenon, with little to no quality data to guide decision-making.”
Malone brings to bear an abundance of evidence showing that the primrose path down which gender-distressed youth have been led is more like a thorn patch. The three critical points are these: most cases of early childhood-onset gender dysphoria self-resolve, the “gender-affirming” care model is based on “a single Dutch study that is not applicable to the current populations of gender-dysphoric youth,” and virtually 100 percent of children who begin puberty blockers will proceed to cross-sex hormones and surgeries and all the irreversible things entailed.
And yet we plod onward to the benefit of ideologues and corporations above all. AbbVie’s virtue signaling blurs the lines between the two. “The pride flag proudly waves outside AbbVie’s headquarter buildings each year during LGBT Pride Month,” reads a post about the company’s philanthropic efforts.
Tammany Hall’s William “Boss” Tweed (played by Jim Broadbent) said in Gangs of New York the first rule of politics is that “ballots don’t make the results, the counters make the results.” The second rule might be to follow the money if you want to know why who is saying and doing what.