UK: Lower prices for LNG EC

February 2022. In the United Kingdom, a big pharmacy retailer announced that  LNG EC pills will be sold at £10 (around 12€). This is similar to the price it offered as part of last years’ Black Friday discounts. Visit bpas Twitter to learn more about their long-term campaign to make EC pills, an essential reproductive health supply, more affordable to all in the UK.
Furthermore, according to the magazine Chemist+Druggist, other pharmacy chains have  lowered the cost of their LNG generic. Representatives from one of these chains expressed “support to the renewed focus within this area.” Read more here.
 

 

Malta: Doctors For Choice EC Prescription Online Service

January 2022. Doctors for Choice in Malta launched an online service that provides a doctor’s prescription for EC pills and also helps women chose her preferred oral EC method (LNG or UPA).

EC pills are registered as over the counter medicines in Malta, but this online service will make access to EC easier for many, such as individuals with a complex medical history that may be denied EC at a pharmacy; people that do not fancy discussing their health and recent sexual activity in the pharmacy; or younger women (16 to 18), to whom sometimes pharmacist still request a prescription.

This is a very innovative effort to provide qualified support to those women who want advice prior to using EC; an efficient way to facilitate women’s decision making on post coital contraception; and a creative way to overcome the persisting barriers to EC access.

Ireland: EC contributes to reduce teenage pregnancy

January 2022. In Ireland, the wider use of emergency contraception (EC) is deemed to be one of the many contributing factors to a 73 % fall in the number of births to teenage mothers over the past 20 years, according to the report “Information Summary about Teenage Pregnancy in Ireland 2000-2020” to be published by Health Service Executive in January 2022.

According to experts consulted by the Irish Times, the fall in teenage pregnancies is multi-factorial, and responds to broad policy, legislative and societal changes in Ireland in the last 20 years, which have created a more supportive environment.

Furthermore, new measures are being prepared to make contraception free of cost to all young people aged 17-25 years, before the end of 2022.

Read more on the Irish Times.

 

Objecting pharmacies in Spain: “If someone comes asking for EC pills, just say we don’t have any”

January 2022. A report published on newtral.es on December 2021 shows the challenges of working in “conscious objector pharmacies”. In these pharmacies the individual right to object dispensing EC pills on conscientious grounds, is extended to the entire team in the shop, despite being an individual right:  https://www.newtral.es/farmacias-objetoras-de-conciencia-pildora-del-dia-despues/20211219/. Testimonies of individuals who, in Spanish pharmacies, have been denied EC for different arbitrary reasons, or that were asked to present a prescription in order to buy EC , are also quoted.

EC pills are marketed in Spain since 2001, and as of 2009 a prescription is no longer necessary for purchase. The report also looks into the confusing Spanish legislative framework regarding the obligation to store medicines for urgent use in pharmacies.

Visit our country data-base to know more about EC access in Spain.

Wales: greater access to EC and routine contraception through community pharmacies

January 2022. Last December, Welsh Health authorities announced changes on the Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework. These will enable all pharmacies to provide emergency contraception (EC) and some forms of routine contraception. Other priority services that will be included are the common ailment, emergency medicine supply and seasonal influenza vaccination services.

The 713 community pharmacies registered in Wales already play an important role in making EC more accessible, having provided over 24.000 EC consultations in 2019-20.

For more details on the new contractual framework click here.

Lower EC knowledge in Roma settlements

December 2021. Data on emergency contraception’ knowledge and use are included in Unicef’s Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS) for some countries. National survey reports are available on-line.

Serbia and North Macedonia identified important EC knowledge gaps between overall population and population in Roma settlements.

Serbia:1 

% of all women aged 15-49 who have heard of EC: 91,4%
% of all women aged 15-49 who have heard of EC in Roma Settlements: 30,1%
North Macedonia:2
% of all women aged 15-49 who have heard of EC: 67,7%
% of all women aged 15-49 who have heard of EC in Roma Settlements: 27,7%

Efforts are needed to ensure that education and information reach all populations, in order to ensure equal access to EC and all contraceptive methods.

 


Source: Statistical Office of the Republic of Serbia and UNICEF. 2020. Serbia Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey and Serbia Roma Settlements Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey, 2019, Survey Findings Report. Belgrade, Serbia: Statistical Office of the Republic of Serbia and UNICEF.

Source: State Statistical Office and UNICEF. 2020. 2018-2019 North Macedonia Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey and 2018-2019 North Macedonia Roma Settlements Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey, Survey Findings Report. Skopje, North Macedonia: State Statistical Office and UNICEF. 

Black Friday discount for essential reproductive health supplies?

December 2021. Last week, a big retail pharmacy chain in the United Kingdom announced a 50% discount on emergency contraception pills during Black Friday.

The promotion has raised strong criticism from a number of organisations and Members of Parliament, who point out that essential women’s health products should not be used to make a profit. MPs and campaigners are now urging the company to keep the EC pill at the discounted price. Read more on BBC News or The Guardian.

Scotland: Novel measures to bridge EC to ongoing contraception

November 2021. Individuals ages 13 to 55 will be able to access a temporary 3-month supply of oral contraception (a progestogen-only contraceptive pill) from community pharmacies, at the time of obtaining emergency contraception (EC). The Scottish government just announced this innovative measure, aimed at bridging the gap between EC and use of longer-term contraception.

Until now, pharmacies could only supply EC and recommend clients to see their doctor or contraceptive specialist, for counselling and/or a prescription of a long-term method. Now they will be able to provide a temporary supply of oral contraceptive pills

The measure is based on a successful pilot tested in pharmacies across Lothian and Tayside, which resulted in a clinically meaningful increase in the subsequent use of effective contraception.

Read more about the new measure in the Scottish Government website or here.

Malta at 2021: “How are we still discussing accessibility to the morning-after pill?”

November 2021. In a valuable monitoring effort, a journalist from MaltaToday conducted again and for the 2nd year in a row, a survey to assess EC accessibility. Through a phone interview, pharmacies that will be on-call in the coming 6 weekends and holidays were asked if they sell emergency contraception (EC) pills, or not.

According to the findings, accessibility to EC pills in Malta has not improved much since last year: out of 119 pharmacies consulted across Malta and Gozo, an average 61% sell EC (similar to the 64% in 2020); this ranges from 45% to 75%, depending on the day and location (this range was 50% to 75% in 2020).

In Malta pharmacists have the right not to dispense EC on the grounds of conscientious objection. In response to these findings, a member of parliament said: “It’s 2021, and we still have people who impose their morality on others.”

Read the full report by MaltaToday here or here. And related news here or here.

FIGO: committed to protect and promote girls and young women SRHR

October 2021. The International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) calls on its members to commit to discussing sexual and reproductive health, including contraception, infection prevention and safe sex, in their conversations with young people, girls, and boys.

Around the world, complications during pregnancy and childbirth are the leading cause of death for 15–19-year-old girls. According to FIGO’s recent new statement, all health cadres can play a role in addressing early and unintended pregnancies. Promoting young people’s sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) will save their lives, improve their physical and mental health, and enable them to pursue the educational and economic futures of their choice.

 “Obstetricians, gynaecologists, and those in related health care professions, including nurses, midwives, and even pharmacists, can prevent this needless risk of morbidities and loss of life (…) for many young women and girls. By having open and honest discussions about safe sex, contraception, and infection prevention, health care practitioners can protect the health and lives of young people (…)”.

Read FIGO’s statement and commitments here and on FIGO’s website.