The French emergency contraception market recorded a current value decline of 2% in 2012, reaching a value of €10 million.
The contraceptive model in France drastically changed in recent years, with the advent of new hormonal methods of contraception, such contraceptive implants, contraceptive skin patches and vaginal rings.
Even though the pill remains the most widely used method (at 44% in 2012), the rapid adoption of Rx-mandatory contraceptive implants/patches and a higher tendency for the male partner to use condoms (due to growing awareness of the need to protect against STDs) curbed the demand for emergency contraception.
Furthermore, a general distrust in emergency contraception (due to the associated cancer risks, hormonal intolerances and other side-effects), along with low incomes amongst younger French women (especially those 20-24 years old) due to rising unemployment, also accounted for the decline in demand for OTC emergency contraception.
Faced with financial difficulties, younger women tended to forego the use of emergency contraception, which is considered as expensive by 42% of them. The mature French female population (35+ years old) has also become increasingly receptive to non-hormonal IUDs (intra-uterine devices), with a view to protecting themselves from the health and other risks associated with hormonal methods of contraception.
A woman can use emergency contraception to prevent pregnancy after having unprotected sex, or if a method of contraception has failed.
There are two methods of emergency contraception: the emergency contraceptive pill, and the copper intrauterine device (IUD).
Both of these methods are effective at preventing pregnancy if they are used soon after unprotected sex. However, the IUD is always 99.9% effective, whereas failures after the pill are not as rare.
With the exception of NorLevo and Lévonorgestrel Biogaran, all contraceptive pills/methods in France are delivered only under medical prescription. These two levonorgestrel-based OTC emergency contraception products are freely available (from chemists/pharmacies, family planning centres and nursing staff in colleges) to the younger female population who are under the majority age of 18 years; for women aged 18+, they are reimbursed at 65%.
The more recent emergency contraception pill EllaOne (active ingredient ulipristal acetate) allows a longer time lag of 120 hours (compared with 72 hours for the two former pills), and has become popular since its acceptance for 65% reimbursement from late 2010.
According to a recent report, 'Emergency Contraception in France,' Laboratoires HRA Pharma continued to dominate emergency contraception in France in 2012, with a 72% value share. With more than a decade of presence in the French territory, its key product NorLevo enjoys strong brand recognition locally.
For more information on the French emergency contraception market, see the latest research: French Emergency Contraception Market
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