March 2022. A new systematic review of over-the-counter (OTC) provision of emergency contraception pills (ECPs), concludes that it is feasible and acceptable, and that it may increase access to and timely use of effective contraception. Evidence suggests that OTC provision of ECPs do not substantively change reproductive health outcomes. This review expands the evidence supporting ECPs as a self-care intervention.
In Europe, the most prevalent modality of ECPs delivery is pharmacy access (also called “behind-the-counter”): ECPs are bought without a prescription but an interaction with the pharmacy’ staff is required. This interaction varies significantly from country to country and often within countries too [read more here]. Only in Norway, Sweden and the Netherlands ECPs are available directly on store shelves (OTC). This is review is very valuable for Europe, and we hope this evidence will be used to drive policy changes on EC access.