First participatory survey on pharmacy access to EC in Europe.

Help us learn more about how real access to emergency contraception (EC) is in Europe! 

July / Sept 2019. The European Youth Network on Sexual and Reproductive Rights (YouAct) and ECEC, launch the first participatory survey on pharmacy access to EC in Europe. With this effort, we want to:

  • Learn how EC products are placed and stocked in community pharmacies
  • Identify different EC counselling practices and models
  • Assess if different post-coital contraceptive choices are offered to individuals
  • Update information on the cost of EC pills.

This project is done with technical and logistical support from a research team from the University of Ottawa (Canada) and inspired by a similar initiative conducted by the American Society for Emergency Contraception (ASEC).  Please find the link to the survey here:

In Albanian:

In Bosnian:

In Croatian:

In English:

In French:

In Spanish: 

The survey can be responded in less than 10 minutes from your cell phone.  Please help us in this effort to identify the remaining barriers to timely access to EC in our countries, and advance our reproductive rights to post-coital contraception.  

Thank you for your collaboration, and enjoy the summer!  

The YouAct and ECEC teams.  

Turkey: new resource for EC information

July 2019. DKT Turkey recently launched an emergency contraception (EC) website to inform and educate about this method. The site, written entirely in Turkish, uses easy-to-understand language to describe how and when to use three different EC methods (UPA and LNG EC pills, and the Cu-IUD). It also directs visitors to a list of longer-term, more sustainable contraceptive options. DKT is an international NGO charity that since 1989 works  to provide safe and affordable options for family planning and HIV prevention through social marketing.


How accessible is EC in Europe?

July 2019. Levonorgestel (LNG) and ulipristal acetate (UPA) emergency contraception (EC) pills are registered as prescription-free medical products in most European countries. Does this mean all women in Europe have the same access to EC?

Anecdotal data suggests that we don’t: In the United Kingdom, pharmacists’ objection to dispensing EC, based on misinformation, myths or their own moral values, has been recently reported as a remaining obstacle to buy EC. In Malta, Doctors for Choice report that many pharmacies in populated locations do not stock EC pills, and the national health service does not provide them. Pharmacies that stock EC are accessible only during specific and limited times of the day.

In order to learn more about how real access to EC is in different European countries, the European Youth Network on Sexual and Reproductive Rights (YouAct) and ECEC, in cooperation with the Faculty of Health Sciences of the University of Ottawa, will soon launch a participatory online survey. Stay tuned. We hope you will help us gather information from your country!

This initiative is inspired by the America Society for Emergency Contraception biennial survey on EC access in the United States of America.

Overweight, Obesity and Contraception: new clinical guideline by the FSRH

May 2019. The UK’s Faculty of Sexual & Reproductive Healthcare (FSRH) just published Overweight, Obesity and Contraception, a guideline that brings together evidence and expert opinion on the provision of contraception to women who are overweight and women with obesity. Recommendations are based on available evidence and the consensus opinion of experts and the guideline development group (GDG).

With regards to emergency contraception, the guideline provides the following key information and clinical recommendations (see page ix of the document): Continue reading

More on Europe and contraception in our Publications page

April 2019. We recently updated our Publications page to include resources from colleague organizations, focused on reproductive rights and access to contraception in Europe. This valuable references, which may be of use for your work promoting EC access in our region, can be found here:

  • European Parliament Resolution: Experiencing backlash in women’s rights and gender equality in the EU ( 2019).
  • WHO Europe: Action Plan for Sexual and Reproductive Health: Towards achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in Europe – leaving no one behind.
  • European Parliamentary Forum: Limited Access: Europe’s Contraception Deficit –  A White Paper (2018).
  • Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights: Women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights in Europe (2017).

New international guidance on EC pills

January 2019. The International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) and the International Consortium for Emergency Contraception (ICEC), launch the 4th edition of “Emergency Contraceptive Pills: Medical and Service Delivery Guidance”.

The guidance is designed to serve as a key reference and training document for service provision. It includes a range of medical and service delivery issues in an easy to use format (from mechanisms of action, dosages, and counseling to EC pill regimens) and a two-page clinical summary available in English and Spanish.

The document can be translated and adapted as necessary to comply with national requirements. Get in touch with us if you are interested in using this guidance in your work.

In the UK: mandatory consultation with pharmacist to buy EC, put into question


January  2019 –  In the United Kingdom, the charity British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) published Pharmacy provision of emergency contraception: A mystery shopper study.

A consultation with the pharmacist prior to purchasing EC is still mandatory in the UK, as it is considered an important opportunity to give a woman information about all her contraception options; STI screening and any other sexual health questions she may have.

The study looks into what information is given during a consultation, in order to assess whether the value of that information offsets the additional barriers created by requiring that emergency contraception only is sold by a pharmacist following a mandatory consultation.

Based on the report findings, BPAS calls for the reclassification of levonorgestrel (LNG) EC pills, so they can be purchased directly from the shelf (what is common in countries like Sweden or the USA), and that any additional information a woman may need, be provided at her request. Download and read the full report here.

EC included in new WHO contraception Apps  

December 2018. The World Health Organization (WHO) recently launched two new Apps for healthcare providers advising women on contraception.

  • The “Humanitarian settings contraception” App, is intended for front-line health care providers to help women initiate contraception in humanitarian and emergency settings. More information here.
  • The “WHO MEC” App, will facilitate the task of family planning providers recommending safe, effective and acceptable contraception methods, for women with medical conditions or medically-relevant characteristics. More information here.

Emergency contraceptive methods (Cu-IUD, LNG EC pills, UPA EC pills and the combined regimen) are included in the “Additional information” section of both Apps. Check them out and let your colleagues know.

The EC wheel: What do you think about it?

November 14, 2018. ECEC is conducting a survey to learn more about the use, added value and shortfalls of the EC Wheel. The survey is in English and it only takes about 4 minutes to respond. If you have used the EC Wheel (either in English or French; the printed or the on-line version), we would like to hear your comments and feedback. Please complete our questionnaire here:
Thank you for your time and cooperation.   

Europe fails on contraception

September 30, 2018. Access to a full range of contraceptive options is a basic right.  Still, providing universal access to modern, effective and affordable contraception, in order to make sure people have choices over their reproductive lives, is not a public policy priority and remains a challenge in most European countries.

Limited Access: Europe’s Contraception Deficit. A White Paper, puts into context the findings of the 2018 Contraception Atlas, assesses access to contraception in different European countries, and makes specific recommendations to governments.

The Contraception Atlas is an original research project led by The European Parliamentary Forum on Population and Development (EPF), which looks into how European public authorities perform in different areas of contraception information and methods provision.

This document and The Contraception Atlas, are key resource for those working to increase access to all contraception methods and to make access more equitable, across our region.