Perceptions of EC in France Among Women and Gynecologists

In 2012, HRA Pharma and the BVA Institute conducted a survey among a representative sample of 2,500 women aged 16-45 on their perceptions of EC. The survey found that among women who reported having unprotected or inadequately protected intercourse, only 20% used EC, due mainly to an underestimation of the risk of pregnancy. This survey also confirmed that women expect to receive more information on EC from health professionals but wish to obtain EC directly from pharmacists. Concurrently, the French Society of Gynecology and the National Federation of Colleges of Medical Gynecology conducted a survey, called GYNECUR, among 500 gynecologists to gauge their perceptions of EC. The vast majority of the gynecologists reported that they are adequately informed about EC, they are conscious of the important preventive role they play in this matter, and in case of need, they refer their patients to pharmacists who provide EC. According to 70% of the gynecologists, women, in general, do not know how to identify situations that put them at risk for unwanted pregnancy, and they are not adequately informed about EC. However, contrary to the view of the gynecologists, 2/3 of the women surveyed reported that they believe that they would be perceived by others as imprudent when requesting EC, and 1/5 of them reported that they would feel ashamed to use EC. Overall, these surveys proved that gynecologists’ and women’s perceptions of EC are similar on two points: (1) the progress EC represents for women and (2) making EC available and increasing access and use is a responsible action. These two surveys show that there is an important need to inform women about emergency contraception and the situations that put them at increased risk for unwanted pregnancies.

For more information on the methodology behind the GYNECUR survey, please review this presentation in English or French.