Switzerland

Emergency contraception (EC) is available in Switzerland: LNG EC and the use of IUD for EC are included in national policies for family planning; local pharmacies, hospitals, family planning clinics, and general practitioners distribute LNG EC, and UPA EC is available from local pharmacies. In certain cantons LNG EC is included in 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 1,858,0001 17.32 30.23 1.524 77.5%5
Year 2010 2005 2010 2011 1994-95

Accessibility & prescription status

In Switzerland, LNG EC is available behind the counter from pharmacies 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. LNG EC is also available in hospitals and from physicians in private practice. Since December 2013 UPA EC was  available by prescription from pharmacies, and since November 2015  a prescription is no longer required (see www.swissmed.ch).

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

In 2014, Swiss gynecologists, pharmacists, and family planning center health workers published a paper documenting their support of a common position to the three methods of EC available in Switzerland (levonorgestrel EC pills, ulipristal acetate EC pills, and copper IUDs). The paper is available in German and French.

Cost

Type of EC Approximate Cost Brand(s) Available
LNG € 17,50 NorLevo
UPA € 32,85 ellaOne

In some cantons, LNG EC is partially reimbursed when purchased from special family planning centers. In these cases, LNG EC costs € 12 when purchased by women who are 20 years old or younger and € 20 when purchased by women who are over the age of 20 years old. In pharmacies, the price of LNG EC is composed of the price of the pill as well as the price of counseling, which is demanded by law.

Guidelines & common practices

Since 2016, the Interdisciplinary Group of Experts on EC (IENK) has developed a set  of tools to strengthen the capacity of pharmacists and health professionals to provide the best EC counselling possible and to facilitate women’s choice.  These include a decision making chart, a protocol for EC provision after missed pill, a guide for pharmacists on when and where to refer women requesting EC to health services, and many more.

Previously, Sexuelle Gesundheit, published in 2008 by SEXUAL HEALTH Switzerland: The Swiss Foundation for Sexual and Reproductive Health, are Switzerland’s guidelines exclusively devoted to EC. Switzerland also has hospital intern guidelines that are regularly updated that contain information on EC among other contraceptive methods. Recommendations on the use of LNG EC pills as well as the use of IUD for EC can be found among these two sets of guidelines. Larger hospitals also rely on Emergency Contraception: Clinical Effectiveness Unit, published in 2011 by the UK Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare, to guide EC use.

Health care providers rarely provide general information about EC during regular consultations or prescribe EC in advance of need. Pelvic exams before prescribing EC are not required, but health care providers sometimes require a pregnancy test, depending on the situation.

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 n/a n/a n/a
Year n/a n/a 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 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.

Last update: March 2016