Bulgaria

Emergency contraception (EC) is available in Bulgaria: LNG EC, UPA EC, and the use of IUD for EC are included in national policies for family planning, and local pharmacies distribute EC, although EC is not reimbursed or covered by social security.

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 1,766,0001 16.92 26.23 1.514 39.6%5
Year 2010 2005 2010 2011 1997-98

Accessibility & prescription status

In Bulgaria, LNG EC is available over the counter from pharmacies for those who are at least 16 years old, which means that EC can be purchased without a prescription. For those under 16, a prescription is required to buy LNG EC. Since 2015, UPA EC can be purchased without a prescription, and without age restrictions, from pharmacies.

Physicians are the sole health care professionals who are authorized to prescribe EC.

Cost

Type of EC Approximate Cost Brand(s) Available
LNG € 15 Escapelle
LNG n/a Postinor-Duo
UPA € 22 ellaOne

The cost of EC is not reimbursed or covered by social security in Bulgaria.

Guidelines & common practices

Bulgaria has several references that are used to guide EC use. In 1999, Elian Rachev, MD, PhD wrote Modern hormonal contraception; in 2000, Insogen Evans, MD, PhD, FRCPC wrote Family planning handbook for health professionals; and in 2010, Blagovest Pehlivanov, MD, PhD wrote EllaOne® – new way for emergency contraception.  Among these three references are recommendations on LNG and UPA EC pills as well as on the use of IUD for EC.

Health care providers sometimes offer general information about EC during regular consultations but rarely prescribe EC in advance of need. Pregnancy tests and pelvic exams are not required before prescribing EC.

EC use

Ever use of EC EC use in the last 3 years % with no prescription Repeated use of EC in last 12 months
Estimate 38%6 18%6 n/a 2%6
Year 2012 2012 n/a 2012

 

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 European health for all database (HFA-DB), World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe. Total fertility rate. Retrieved 18 June 2013, from http://data.euro.who.int/hfadb/.

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

6 Personal communication, Dimitar Cvetkov.

Last update: November 2015