Upon request by the manufacturer of ulipristal acetate emergency contraception (UPA EC) pills, the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use of the European Medicines Agency will consider a proposed change in the classification for supply of UPA EC pills from “medicinal product subject to medical prescription” to “medicinal product not subject to medical prescription” in the European Union[i].
As a Consortium striving to increase access to EC, we envision a European region where all women receive evidence-based information about all EC methods available to them and are free to chose the EC method they prefer to use to reduce the risk of pregnancy after unprotected sex.
We believe that an additional and more effective oral EC method available without prescription would be an important public health benefit to the women of Europe. Keeping in mind the data available from post-marketing surveillance of UPA EC and the fact that in most European countries women prefer to obtain their EC methods directly from the pharmacy, we believe that the benefits of increased access to the newest EC method exceed any potential risks.
Europe has a renewed opportunity to show its commitment and global leadership in protecting and promoting the reproductive rights of its population. Making all oral EC methods equally accessible will contribute to strengthening European women’s capacity to exercise their reproductive and human rights.
[i] European Medicines Agency: EMA/CHMP/59462/2014 – Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP). Minutes of the 20-23 January 2014 meeting. http://www.ema.europa.eu/docs/en_GB/document_library/Minutes/2014/02/WC500162067.pdf, October 2014