'Little Pink Pill' for Women Sparks Big Sexism Controversy

Flibanserin, a drug for boosting female sexual desire, remains in an FDA-approval battle.
7:17 | 05/22/14

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Transcript for 'Little Pink Pill' for Women Sparks Big Sexism Controversy
-- -- It's known as -- and -- for women. -- the little pink pitiful little thing out a tiny tablet that could have a huge impact in the bedroom. I think this is absolutely an evolution in a female sexual revolution but you won't be able to get the -- -- just yet. Because the drug is locked in -- heated battle for FDA approval. Raising controversial questions about why there are so many sexual enhancement drugs out there for men finally let something like -- red tile dysfunction get -- -- And zero for women there are 25 drug that group for some form of male sexual dysfunction. But still a great big zero for the most common department in the sexual function. Well -- -- spaghetti for -- have that okay. I think when I really realize something's wrong was my distinct feel like myself. This busy mom of four Amanda Paris says she used to have a smoldering sex life with her husband. Over time things cooled off big time she says the problem wasn't with him. But with her I felt like even then we -- close and having great relationship there was something just not there. Amid appears to -- -- -- is part of the clinical trials. I can remember the very first time driving down the red at about a month's time and -- that day thinking about. My has been -- On the sending of a father and I think -- I'm not talking about heart rate (%expletive) her. It -- a little further south but that was the first time literally probably in my life that had ever happened to me. Amanda found herself buying sexy lingerie and initiating things in the bedroom. Whether it was because my inhibitions loosen up or because the desire had returned to I became much more of an initiator. And internally became much closer and -- -- Amanda says she never discussed the issue with her friends. But had a sneaking suspicion she wasn't alone if I am really past. Ten ladies on the street I think probably seven -- in -- -- fess up that their sex life was not what they had wanted it to me. And how many women I know that's exactly what we did that yeah. Nighttime we have a very famous. Doctor -- accompanied by gynecologist and sexual health crusader doctors only striker we hit the streets of New York City to talk about a taboo. Yeah plant. Have a that -- had someone in your life yeah. It made it isn't even consider taking the good news. Taken you to get. 'cause it's such a taboo topic. Women don't know that other women have these issues and they feel very isolated how common is that it it's very common. But the little pink pill is about more than curing waning will veto it specifically for treating -- active sexual desire disorder or HS DD. If you're married and you have no sexual desire but if you know. Channing Tatum walks in the door everything changes do you have that condition -- not. That's important and how can you gauge that -- Channing Tatum -- -- -- hear how those there's there's a diagnostic questionnaire that physicians go through and they really can pretty quickly get to you. Whether or not this is a relationship dynamic. Or something is happening biologically. Some estimates say as many as one in ten women suffer from -- STD. While many doctors agree it's a problem there are no medical treatment options at all. -- -- -- -- Cindy Whitehead is out to change that four in ten women report sexual dysfunction she's the woman behind the little pink pill whose working name is that less than sexy -- answering. She quit her job to buy the rights and founded sprout pharmaceuticals. She's been fighting for FDA approval for three years so this has been. Called the female Viagra -- is that accurate it's not. It can actually I get why people call it that but in truth it works very differently than -- -- does. Piper is a blood flow issue a mechanical issue and flipping -- works on key chemicals in the brain. Scientists have known for years that a woman's biggest sexual organ is actually her brain. And that's what we'll be answering targets taking every day it's not for -- but rather works on brain chemistry. 1000 women participated in the trials. According to sprouts results on average the women taking to advance -- -- doubled their number of so called satisfying sexual events. And reported a 50% increase in sexual desire. So how would you characterize that viewer with a girlfriend -- I should have had to go what would you say I would say he talked to anyone at this patients. They tell you that's a significant impact. But about 15% of those in the clinical trials dropped out because of side effects including dizziness and sleepiness. And him. -- -- -- proponents point -- seem mild compared to those iconic Viagra commercials to avoid long term injury seek immediate medical help and erection lasting more than four hours. So what did you hear from the FDA. We heard from the FDA. In simplest term now. What they basically fatuous ends in the risk benefit evaluation. They felt that we'll be answering the fact was only my best. And therefore they didn't give us an approval. The FDA's rejection of -- answer -- ignited a storm of controversy with many crying sexism. The agency -- -- -- letters in support of the drug from prominent women's groups and even a handful of congresswomen. When you look at how many options are for male sexual dysfunction for me tiger mountain medical options is more than twenty and that we have zero FDA plan for women's use. What school on -- well first of -- I think there's some sexism play. -- it is making this up is that not a hallmark holiday. -- -- just decided to invent something in order to solve wore something the FDA denied a request to be interviewed about let me -- -- or comment specifically on the drug. But -- they are committed to advancing treatments -- female sexual dysfunction and denied any allegations of gender bias. It's not sexist for the FDA. Not to approve a drug that it doesn't believe is effective or safe. Some doctors say will be answering was rejected for a very simple reason. It's an ineffective drug for a nonexistent problem the classic marketing technique to first create a problem and then sell this solution and that's what's going on here of course sexual desire varies by person and it varies by phase of life but that doesn't make it a disease. Cindy Whitehead and -- pharmaceuticals are appealing the FDA's decision. -- sprout wins the appeal will be answering could be available as early as next year it's -- ruling women like Amanda -- are eagerly waiting for. I will be the first one waiting for my prescription. I I believe that strongly in how -- and I believe that strongly that women. Deserve an equal opportunity to enjoy and become active members and their sex life -- mean to you to be first to market with us. I think it it's much more. Think getting a drug approved this is an important moment in women's health care. And and I think a societal. Moment around women's sexuality. For Nightline I'm -- -- -- in North Carolina.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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