Spain

Emergency contraception (EC) is available in Spain: LNG EC, UPA EC, and the use of IUD for EC are included in national policies for family planning; local pharmacies and family planning clinics distribute EC. LNG and UPA EC are included in drug reimbursement policies in some of of the country’s Autonomous Communities.

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 11,351,0001 17.52 29.83 1.354 62.3%5
Year 2010 2005 2010 2011 2006

Accessibility & prescription status

In Spain, LNG EC is available behind the counter from pharmacies since September 2009; this means that EC is available without a prescription but is not on the shelves and needs to be requested in order to purchase. Since April 2015 UPA EC can also be purchased without a prescription from pharmacies and is available behind the counter.

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

Cost

Type of EC Approximate Cost Brand(s) Available
LNG € 19 NorLevo, Postinor
LNG € 17 Generic (TEVA)
LNG € 15 Generic (Mylan)
UPA € 25 ellaOne

In some Autonomous Communities of the country, the cost of EC is partially or fully reimbursed to the patient when it is sold with a prescription in the pharmacy. It is also free to the user when it is accessed in the public sector.

Guidelines & common practices

In 2015 the Spanish Society of Contraception (Sociedad Española de Contracepción or SEC), published Anticoncepción de Urgencia. Guía para la provisión de servicios en Europa, which provides recommendations for LNG and UPA EC pills and the Cu-IUD. In addition, in 2019 this Society published Protocolo Anticoncepción de Urgencia, a thorough and evidence-based clinical update.

Furthermore, and also in 2019, the Ministry of Health published Guía de Práctica Clínica de Anticoncepción Hormonal e Intrauterina, which includes an exhaustive review of EC methods, among other hormonal and intrauterine methods.

Health care providers sometimes provide general information about EC during regular consultations but rarely prescribe EC in advance of need. Directions regarding EC use are usually given when EC is accessed from a public medical facility, whereas no specific recommendations are given when it is accessed from a pharmacy. Health care providers also do not require a pregnancy test or a pelvic exam before prescribing 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 14.7%6 3.5%6 47.3%6 0.42%7
Year 2013 2013 2013 2011

More recent data suggest an increase in EC use:  A 2018 survey sponsored by SEC8, found that 30% of sexually active women of ages 15 to 49, had ever used EC.  SEC’s 2019 National Survey on Sexual Health and Contraception among Spanish Youth9, found that 29,7% of young women (16 to 25) have ever used EC pills, with variations according to age groups: 14,4% of 16 to 18 years old have ever used EC; 19,9% of 19 to 21 years old; and 34,5% of 22 to 25 years old. On average, Spanish youth has used EC 1,49 times in their life time. When asked about reasons for EC use, 68,5% mentioned condom rupture; 22,7% misuse or non-use of regular methods; and 5,2% because having missed the pill.

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.

Sociedad Española de Contracepción. ESTUDIO POBLACIONAL SOBRE USO Y OPINIÓN DE LA PÍLDORA POSTCOITAL 2013. Retrieved 20 September 2015, from http://sec.es/descargas/ENC_2013_pildorapostcoital.pdf

7 Sociedad Española de Contracepción. Estudio poblacional nacional sobre uso y opinión de la píldora de urgencia 2011. Retrieved 20 September 2015, from http://sec.es/area-cientifica/observatorio/documentos-observatorio/estudio-poblacional-por-comunidades/

Sociedad Española de Contracepción. Hábitos de la población femenina en relación al uso de los métodos anticonceptivos 2018. Retrived January 2020, from http://hosting.sec.es/descargas/encuesta2018.pdf

Sociedad Española de Contracepción. Estudio sobre sexualidad y anticoncepción: jóvenes españoles; 2019. Retrived January 2020 from: http://hosting.sec.es/descargas/Encuesta2019SEXUALIDADANTICONCEPCIONJOVENES.pdf

Last update: February 2020