January 2021. The European Consortium for Emergency Contraception (ECEC) and the European Youth Network on Sexual and Reproductive Rights (YouAct), launched in 2019 a participatory survey in order to better understand how access to and availability of emergency contraception (EC) pills is through community pharmacies in our region.
We are pleased to introduce the survey report, which focuses on five countries: Andorra, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Malta, Spain and Sweden. You can download the report here.
Our findings suggest that community pharmacies play a very important role in ensuring access to EC pills, with the big majority of pharmacies carrying them (even in countries where they are entitled not to). However, our findings also point at individuals not being systematically offered a choice of postcoital contraception methods in every pharmacy of our sample.
We conclude that access to the highest standard of care in post-coital contraception remains uneven within and among countries in Europe: individuals are likely to have different experiences and outcomes when procuring EC, depending on what European country she/he is in, and also on what pharmacy she/he walks in.
ECEC and YouAct recommend some measures to reduce inequities in access to the highest standard of post-coital contraception care. These include:
- Reclassifying ECPs so they can be sold in pharmacies and other outlets, without the supervision of a pharmacist.
- Developing minimum regional and national standards for EC dispensing.
- Disseminating these standards and making them publicly available, so individuals know what to expect when procuring EC.
- Conducting non-commercial information campaigns to ensure the ability of all people to access accurate information about all post-coital contraception choices available to them.
Different responsibilities fall on different players. We look forward to starting a conversation to move forward toward a stronger rights-based approach to EC dispensing.
We thank all the organizations, individuals and pharmacy staff that participated in this effort.
Contact us at ecec[at]eeirh[dot]org and join our e-mail list.
January 2021. The American Society for Emergency Contraception just published EC for Transgender and Nonbinary Patients. This fact sheet is a great resource for all healthcare providers offering care to patients of reproductive age.
“Pregnancy is possible for any individual with a uterus and ovary(ies) who has receptive penis-in-vagina sex with partners who produce sperm, regardless of gender identity. Patients who are amenorrheic due to testosterone use may (…) be at risk for pregnancy. This fact sheet addresses medical and social-emotional aspects of EC for transgender and nonbinary patients.
Download the factsheet from ASEC’s website or from here. We thank the colleagues at ASEC for sharing this valuable work with us.
November 2020. Last April, Unisanté published “Remise de la contraception d’urgence en pharmacie : une étude qualitative sur l’expérience des clientes”, the report of a qualitative research exploring the opinions and perceptions of young
women who obtained EC in community pharmacies in Switzerland.
Individual face-to-face interviews were conducted between April and August 2019 with 30 women ages 18 and younger, who had sought EC in pharmacies in the canton of Vaud between 2014 and 2019. Issues asked included: reasons for choosing to go to a pharmacy; advantages and disadvantages; reception at the pharmacy counter; questions asked; judgments; actual in-take of the pill; price; support; contraception and prevention.
In short, the study concludes that community pharmacies are very convenient points for EC delivery. They are highly appreciated because they provide great accessibility, short waiting time, and extended hours. However, the report points at several avenues for improvement, to ensure that no barriers for young women arise in pharmacies:
- improving the information and knowledge of young women about the procedure for dispensing EC in pharmacies;
- improving and systematizing the information that is asked during the mandatory counseling;
- reducing embarrassment and prevent judgemental attitudes;
- raising awareness among young men;
- reconsidering the price of EC;
- integrating pharmacists in the reflection around the delivery of EC in pharmacies.
The full document can be downloaded here and directly from our website, here.
September 2020. The Romanian YouTube channel, SEXUL vs BARZA, run by reproductive justice and sex education advocate Adriana Radu, just released a new chapter focused on emergency contraception, which you can watch here:
Such resources are key to educate the young (and the not so young) generations that are more prone to look for information on contraception on-line. We are grateful for Adriana Radu’s work: Mulțumesc!
September 2020. This past month of July, the Swiss Interdisciplinary Group of Experts on Emergency Contraception (IENK) updated its position paper, originally published in 2014, in order to reflect new recommendations and research findings (as of April 21st, 2020). The paper is available in French and German, and also directly from Santé Sexuelle Suisse (IENK‘s member) webiste: https://www.sante-sexuelle.ch.
IENK is a coalition of individuals and organisations aimed at promoting access to EC and ensuring quality counselling. It brings together professionals of different fields (pharmacists, medical staff, sexual health specialists, midwives) that work on EC.
May 2020. The American Society for Emergency Contraception (ASEC) publishes “EC in the COVID-19 era: advance access is more important than ever”. While EC access in the US and most European countries differ (UPA EC pills are still a prescription product in the US) ASEC overall recommendation is still valid in our context: know where you can get EC, and keep it on hand in advance of need.
“EC is an important back-up contraceptive option at any time. This is true more than ever during the COVID-19 pandemic, when access to ongoing contraception may be limited and efforts are underway to limit access to abortion in some states. Purchasing EC in advance of need can help people maintain autonomy and reduce the risk of pregnancy during this crisis.“
You can check the availability status of different type of EC pills in your country, in our website: https://www.ec-ec.org/emergency-contraception-in-europe/country-by-country-information-2/.
January 2020. The paper Switching emergency contraceptives to non-prescription status and unwanted pregnancy among adult and teenage women: A long-term European comparative study was published in the South Eastern European Journal of Public Health and is available as open access.
This study’s assessed abortion/birth rates among adult and teenage women in Europe before and after the switch of EC to non-prescription status. Findings suggest, among others, that the switch contributed to reduce abortion and live birth rates among teenagers.
Click here to read the paper.
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: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/ECECsurveyALB
In Bosnian: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/ECECsurveyBOS
In Croatian: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/ECECsurveyCRO
In English: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/ECECsurveyEN
In French: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/ECECsurveyFR
In Spanish: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/ECECsurveySP
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.
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.
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.