Belgium

Emergency contraception (EC) is available in Belgium: LNG EC, UPA EC, and the use of IUD for EC are included in national policies for family planning; local pharmacies, hospitals, and family planning clinics distribute EC; and Belgium includes EC in its drug reimbursement policies.

Sexual & reproductive health background information

Female population aged 15-49 Mean age at first sexual intercourse Mean age at birth of first child Total fertility rate % use of modern contraceptive methods
Estimate 2,448,0001 17.22 28.03 1.844 72.9%5
Year 2010 2005 2010 2009 2004

Accessibility & prescription status

In Belgium, LNG EC is available behind the counter from pharmacies, hospitals, and family planning clinics, which means that EC is available without a prescription but is not on the shelves and needs to be requested in order to purchase. UPA EC is only available by prescription from pharmacies and hospitals, although anecdotal data suggests that it is sometimes sold without a prescription.

Physicians are the sole health care professionals who are authorized to prescribe UPA EC and to provide or prescribe LNG EC.

Cost

Type of EC Approximate Cost Brand(s) Available
LNG € 9,85 NorLevo 1.5mg, Postinor
UPA € 29,90 (€ 17,94 if <21 years old) ellaOne

The cost of LNG EC is fully reimbursed to the patient when it is sold with a prescription. The cost of UPA EC is partially reimbursed to the patient (about 40%) if the patient is under 21 years old.

Guidelines & common practices

Domus Medica, issued by the scientific group of Belgian general practitioners in 2009, contains recommendations on LNG and UPA EC pills as well as on the use of IUD for EC.

Health care providers sometimes provide general information about EC during regular consultations but rarely prescribe EC in advance of need. Health care providers also do not require a pregnancy test or a pelvic exam before prescribing EC.

EC use

Ever use of EC EC use in the last 12 months % with no prescription Repeated use of EC in last 12 months
Estimate n/a 0.6%6 n/a n/a
Year n/a 2004 n/a n/a

 

Sources

1 United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division. World Population Prospects: The 2010 Revision. New York, 2011.

2 Durex Global Sex Survey Results 2005. Retrieved 20 June 2013, from http://www.durex.com/en-jp/sexualwellbeingsurvey/documents/gss2005result.pdf.

3 United Nations Economic Commission for Europe Statistical Division Database. Mean Age of Women at Birth of First Child by Country and Year. Updated 23 November 2012. Retrieved 19 June 2013, from http://w3.unece.org/pxweb/dialog/varval.asp?ma=04_GEFHAge1stChild_r&path=../database/STAT/30-GE/02-Families_households/&lang=1&ti=Mean+age+of+women+at+birth+of+first+child.

4 Eurostat. Total fertility rate, 1960-2011 (live births per woman). Retrieved 19 June 2013, from http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/statistics_explained/index.php?title=File:Total_fertility_rate,_1960-2011_%28live_births_per_woman%29.png&filetimestamp=20130129121040.

5 United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division. World Contraceptive Use 2012. New York, 2012.

6 https://www.wiv-isp.be/epiolemio/epinl/nospul/hisul/his04nl/his37nl.pdf.