Six years after deregulation of emergency contraception in Switzerland: has free access induced changes in the profile of clients attending an emergency pharmacy in Zürich?
ABSTRACT Emergency contraception (EC) has been freely accessible in Swiss pharmacies since November 2002. Today some groups are still concerned that free access might result in less use of efficient contraceptive methods, overuse and more risky sexual behaviour.
Profiles of EC users one and six years after deregulation were analysed with regard to age, contraceptive methods used, reasons for EC use, and last contact with a gynaecologist. Data were collected from a centrally located pharmacy. Written official assessment forms concerning 1500 women (750 in 2004 and 750 in 2009) were analysed.
Free access to EC use had no impact on regular contraceptive behaviour. The percentage of pill and condom users was very high (85%). The percentage of EC-users without any contraception (17-18%) was the same over the years. In 2009, condom rupture was reported more frequently (p < 0.001). In addition significantly more women had used EC previously in their history.
Free access to EC has not resulted in less use of efficient contraceptive methods. In the context of falling abortion rates our results are reassuring. This also applies to adolescents, who mainly used EC as a back-up method and seldom in the context of unprotected intercourse.
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ABSTRACT: Objective Emergency contraception (EC) accessibility has evolved differently in Catalunya as compared with other autonomous communities in Spain. Free-of-charge access within the Public Health System was authorised in 2004, and over-the-counter (OTC) access was implemented in 2009. The aim of the study is to assess the impact of these measures on demand and users’ profiles at our institution. Methods A retrospective study, in our Emergency Department, was conducted to evaluate EC requests in relationship to accessibility modifications. The age of women and which days of the week they attended were analysed. Results The number of EC requests, the distribution by age and the demand over the week remained stable after access to EC became free of charge. However, requests sharply decreased following OTC access implementation. Distribution by age also changed, with a significant increase in requests from women under 25 years (72% vs 56%, p < 0.001). Demand was greatest on Sunday and Monday, and this distribution persisted over the study period. Conclusion EC requests remained unchanged following free-of-charge access to EC, but decreased after OTC implementation. Women currently seeking EC at no cost at our institution are more likely to be younger and to request it on a Monday.The European Journal of Contraception and Reproductive Health Care 05/2014; 19(4). DOI:10.3109/13625187.2014.913787 · 1.84 Impact Factor