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Attorney General Announces Investigation into Manufacturers of Drugs used for Sex-Changes

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Ken Paxton speaking at a press conference. | Image by Marjorie Kamys Cotera for The Texas Tribune

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Attorney General (AG) Ken Paxton announced this week that he is investigating pharmaceutical companies that promote “puberty blockers,” which can have the ultimate effect of permanently sterilizing children.

Endo Pharmaceuticals, AbbVie, Supprelin LA, Lupron Depot, and Vantas are among the medications that are being scrutinized under the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act for allegedly advertising and peddling hormone blockers for unapproved uses without disclosing the potential risks associated with the drugs to children and their parents, according to a press release.

“These drugs were approved for very different purposes and can have detrimental and even irreversible side effects,” Paxton said in a statement online. “I will not allow pharmaceutical companies to take advantage of Texas children.”

For example, Supprelin LA and Lupron Depot are typically used to treat children when their puberty process begins too early, and Vantas, a form of Lupron, is usually prescribed to treat prostate cancer.

“This investigation, under the Texas Deceptive Trades Practices Act, actually shows that there’s some concern that these companies are actually selling these puberty blockers without really a care in the world about who is buying them and what they are using them for,” said Mary Elizabeth Castle, senior policy advisor with Texas Values, an advocacy group in Austin. “It’s a step in the right direction to reveal just how big of a problem this is that we’re giving this to children to change their gender and that these are really dangerous drugs.”

The drugs are allegedly being used to treat gender dysphoria without having been approved to do so by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

“The manufacture, sale, prescription, and use of puberty blockers on young teens and minors is dangerous and reckless,” Paxton said.

Gender dysphoria, according to the American Psychiatric Association, is a condition of distress created by an individual who identifies with the opposite biological sex. As previously reported in Dallas Express, transgender youths may start transgender hormone usage to prevent the development of breasts, facial hair, and menstruation. 

A major clinic at Dallas Children’s Medical, GENECIS, recently shut its doors after a series of protests at Dallas Children’s board members’ places of work.

Previously, Dallas Children’s responded to allegations of wrongdoing in an interview with The Dallas Express, saying the GENECIS program provides a full range of evidence-based, comprehensive care to support the physical, mental, and behavioral health needs of all children.

“There really aren’t many barriers or procedures in place in order to get them, much like what we saw with the opiate crisis and how easy it was to get more than you need for a toothache,” Castle told The Dallas Express. “With puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones, unfortunately, because there’s such a large ideological push for gender identity, some kids are able to get these prescriptions without a thorough psychoanalysis.”

In a Dec. 7 letter addressed to Jaime Masters, Texas Department of Family and Protective Services Commissioner, Paxton reminded the state agency head that his office will assist in their formal inquiry about the drugs.

“To be clear, I trust that DFPS is investigating and taking all appropriate actions against child abuse that may occur through gender reassignment surgery, chemical or surgical castration, puberty blockers, or any other procedure as it relates to children,” Paxton wrote.

However, Castle questioned why Paxton’s office is not leading the inquest.

“Under the DTPA, it’s the responsibility of the AG so, I would hope that the AG’s office will be the leader on this investigation,” Castle said in an interview.

Only the Attorney General, like Paxton, or a District Attorney can take legal action to enforce the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act.

“The truth is that this has been something that has been developing in the medical community for a long time, and it really is a large market,” Castle added. “I think that’s what this investigation will reveal is that there is a really large market of these companies trying to distribute these dangerous drugs to children.”

The Trans Education Network of Texas did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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