Italy

Emergency contraception (EC) is available in Italy: LNG EC, UPA EC, and the use of IUD for EC are included in guidelines for family planning, and local pharmacies distribute EC pills. 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 13,303,0001 18.12 30.33 1.414 40.6%5
Year 2015 2005 2011 2010 1995-96

Accessibility & prescription status

A prescription was mandatory in order to buy any LNG EC product in Italy, until October 2015, when LNG EC pills were reclassified; since then, they can be dispensed in pharmacies without prescription (behind the counter), but only to women over 18 years of age. Underage women still need a prescription to buy an LNG EC pill.  

UPA EC pills are available in the Italian market since early 2009, and were initially registered as a prescription medicine. In April 2015, following a recommendation from the European Medicines Agency (EMA), the prescription requirement was removed, but kept for underage women (18 or younger). This restriction for underage women was finaly removed in October 2020 (AIFA Rep. n./998/2020).  

Cost

Type of EC Approximate Cost Brand(s) Available
LNG € 13,30 Escapelle
LNG € 17,27 Norlevo
LNG € 11 – 12 After Farmitalia, Stromalidan Sandoz
UPA € 26,90 ellaOne

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

Guidelines & common practices

In February 2015, the Italian edition of Emergency Contraception: A guideline for service provision in Europe was published, titled Contraccezione di emergenza: Una linea guida per la fornitura di servizi in Europa. This edition was published with the endorsment of the Societa’ Italiana di Ginecologia e Ostetricia, Associazione Ostetrici Ginecologi Ospedalieri Italiani, Societa’ Medica Italiana per la Contraccezione, Societa’ Italiana della Contraccezione, and Associazione Ginecologi Territoriali. These guidelines include  recommendations on LNG and UPA EC pills as well as on the use of Cu-IUD for EC.

In April 2015, the Italian Medicines Agency (AIFA) announced that UPA EC can be sold without a prescription to women 18 years of age and older, and that a pregnancy test was no longer required to use UPA EC (as initially mandated).

Furthermore, in October 2020, AIFA announced that a prescription is no longer  necessary for women underage to buy UPA EC (AIFA’s Resolution no. 998).8

Health care providers rarely provide general information about EC during regular consultations or prescribe EC in advance of need. Health care providers do not require a pelvic exam or pregnancy test before prescribing LNG EC or UPA 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 2.5 – 2.7%7 0.3%7 n/a
Year n/a 2009 2009 n/a

 

Sources

1 United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division. World Population Prospects: The 2012 Revision. New York, 2013.

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.

Agenzia Italiana del Farmaco. Gazzette Ufficiale della Repubblica Italiana. GU Serie Generale N. 105 del 8-5-2015. Determina 21 aprile 2015.

IMS Italy, 2009

Agenzia Italiana del Farmaco. (2020, October 8). Determina modifica regime fornitura ELLAONE. Retrieved October 16, 2020, from https://www.aifa.gov.it/documents/20142/1134592/2020.10.10_Det-DG-998-2020_modifica_regime_fornitura_ELLAONE_08.10.20.pdf/48c3d0ae-ba87-aadc-e5d8-b281ed0fc467

Last update: November 2020

Previous update:  October 2020