One of the greatest inventions of all time is the Today Sponge, an over-the-counter contraceptive that’s been unavailable in the United States for the past 10 years. The FDA forced it off the market when it found problems at the manufacturing plant. The safety of the product was never an issue. The manufacturer decided to stop production altogether rather than invest the millions it would take to fix the manufacturing problems identified by the FDA.
I call it a great invention because it provided great benefits beyond birth control. It allowed for spontaneity because it could remain inserted for a day. There was no discomfort for women and better yet, they didn’t have to deal with hormones and other yucky stuff from products such as birth control pills. The product also had an efficacy rate of 89% to 91% (100% for me).
I introduced two women to the product and they were ecstatic. I remember when it mysteriously disappeared and the great disappointment. Nothing else has compared to it since. It was the most popular female over-the-counter contraceptive in the country from 1983 to 1995, when 250 million were sold.
I also remember a very funny Seinfeld episode where Elaine desperately searches throughout all the pharmacies and supermarkets in NYC to buy every last box of the Today Sponge when she heard it was being pulled off the market. She then grilled each prospective partner to make sure they were “spongeworthy” because she knew she had to ration the product.
Welcome back, Sponge.