European Contraception Policy Atlas 2020

November 2020. The European Parliamentary Forum for Sexual and Reproductive Rights launched the 4th edition of the European Contraception Policy Atlas on November 12th. The map scores 46 countries throughout Europe on access to modern contraception. Some of this year’s findings are the following:
• Access to modern, effective and affordable contraception remains a  challenge for European countries;
• 7 countries introduced policies related to supplies and counselling and 4 countries improved online information resources;
• Belgium edges ahead of France, taking the lead for the first time in four years;
• Poland remains at the bottom of the Atlas, being the only European country to increase restrictions to contraception in the past four years.
In addition, this year’s Atlas features a dynamic map that illustrates countries performance according to a number of indicators. See the example of “Availability of EC without prescription” below, and read more in https://www.epfweb.org/european-contraception-atlas.
If you missed the on-line launch of the Atlas today, YouTube is here to help: https://youtu.be/5sT5mKS-UtI 

Using EC after missed oral contraceptive pills

November  2020. The European Society of Contraception and Reproductive Health (ESC) organises the webinar “Dilemmas in contraception”, which will include a discussion on what to do when emergency contraception pills are needed because of missed oral contraception pills. The webinar will take place on November 18 at 16h00 Central European Time. Register here: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_xNT5kKbAQMSzet3u2rOHtA 

 

 

Malta: Buying the “morning-after pill” on Sunday is an arduous task

November 2020. A journalist from MaltaToday, recently conducted a phone survey to find out if the pharmacies who will be on-call in the coming 6 weekend and holidays (November until December 8th, 2020) stock EC pills or not. On Sundays and public holidays, only 20 pharmacies across the country’s two islands are open.

From the 120 pharmacies across Malta and Gozo contacted by the journalist, an average of 64% sell the morning-after pill. However, the rate ranges from 50% on one Sunday in November to 75% on another.

Read the full report here and here.

The report also looked at the interaction with the pharmacy staff over the phone, and the questions a woman can be asked when procuring EC. The Chamber of Pharmacists insists that pharmacists should follow their guidelines, which tackle confidentiality and patient safety, among others. This guidelines are not available to the general public.

The news triggered reactions from a number of politicians and activists.

 

Switzerland: a qualitative study of young women experiences obtaining EC in pharmacies 

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

International solidarity with women in Poland

October 2020. ECEC’s mission is to expand access to and knowledge of emergency contraception (EC) in Europe, within a broader sexual and reproductive health and rights approach. Our work does not occur in a vacuum: ensuring access to EC is just one of the many measures necessary for people to be able to exercise sexual and reproductive rights, which are human rights.

ECEC wants to express its solidarity with the people of Poland, who are seeing their reproductive rights curtailed, and adhered to the joint civil society statement on international solidarity with women and peaceful protestors in Poland, prepared by the Centre for Reproductive Rights.

Italy: women under 18 no longer need a prescription to buy UPA EC

October 2020. On October 8th the Italian Medicines Agency (AIFA) reclassified ulipistral acetate (UPA) EC pill EllaOne to “non-prescription but non-over-the-counter medicinal product” (Resolution no. 998). To date, women under 18  needed a medical prescritpion, prior to purchasing UPA ECPs at the pharmacy.

According to AIFA’s statment, this measure aims to further protect the physical and psychological health of adolescents, and to prevent unplanned pregnancies among youth. The Report to Parliament of the Minister of Health of June 2020 reported that, according to 2018 data, “the increased use of emergency contraception with levonorgestrel  and ulipistral acetate, had a positive effect on the reduction of pregnancy termination, which in Italy has continuously and progressively decreased since 1983”. Eliminating the prescription requirement for emergency contraception for minors aims, therefore, to contribute to reduce the conception rate under the age of 18 in the context of improving, in particular, the sexual health of adolescents and, more generally, of public health.”

You can read AIFA’s resolution here, and announcement of this reclassification here.

 

Ireland: New App for EC counselling

October 2020. In Ireland, a web-based App for EC counselling has been developed by www.MyClinic365.com. The App is based on The Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare guideline on EC and is available in English to everyone: MyClinic365 EC Prescribing App

The MyClinic365.com team welcomes your feedback at info@myclinic365.com

This App is a good complement to the extensive guidances published by the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland in 2015 and 2016 respectively (and subsequently updated), on the safe supply of non-prescription UPA and LNG EC pills, which are available to all on PSI website.

Romania: EC featured in YouTube channel Sexul VS Barza

 

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!

World Contraception Day 2020: EC and stigma

September 2020. The European Journal of Contraception and Reproductive Health Care highlights and provides open access to this paper from its latest issue:

Qualitative findings about stigma as a barrier to contraception use: the case of Emergency Hormonal Contraception in Britain and implications for future contraceptive interventions
Rachael Eastham, Christine Milligan & Mark Limmer.

See more on the ESC website.

A good way to commemorate #WorldContraceptionDay

 

Switzerland: new recommendations for EC providers (available in German and French)

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.