Free contraceptive pill, AIFA’s turning point

largeThe Italian Medicines Agency approved the decision to become a free part of hormonal contraceptives for women of all age groups

Historic turning point for contraception in Italy. Friday 21 April, National Women’s Health Day, the Price and Compensation Committee of the Italian Medicines Agency (Ifa) has even approved the decision to become part of it for free contraceptives hormonal for women of all age groupsfor a total State investment of 140 million euros.

The choice of AIFA, which is the body called upon to give views on the classification of drugs and whether they are free, means that the purchase of contraceptive drugs will be paid for by the NHS and a prescription from your doctor will suffice to pick them up at the pharmacy. In QuotidianoSanità Giovanna Scroccaro, president of CPR Aifa, explained that “within 3 categories of contraceptive drugs identified and divided by ‘generation’, the cheapest products were evaluated, which became free”. However, it is not yet clear which drugs will actually become free, if we are talking only about contraceptive pillone of the most common methods, or whether other drugs that act on a hormonal level will be included, so patches and rings.

A free payment provided by law but almost never guaranteed

To become official and effective, the provision must first pass AIFA board control, and then be published in the Official Gazette. The time frame by which this will happen is unclear, just as it is unclear which contraceptive drugs will be made available for free, but it is still a notable step forward on an issue that has been discussed for some time and is already on AIFA’s table , complicit in the fact that contraception in Italy is fully paid for despite the fact that it is free Law 405 of 1975the one that establishes counseling centers, taken from 194 of 1978 on abortions.

Article 1, paragraph d) of Law 405 of 1979, in fact, states that among the purposes of the family and maternal assistance service is included “the dissemination of information suitable for the promotion or prevention of pregnancy with advice on methods and medicines suitable for each case . “. Despite the legal guaranteesHowever, in Italy contraception has never been officially free, and almost always is advisorsin cooperation with health companies and Regions, to determine if and when to distribute it for free. At the Italian level, the Regions that have decided to make the contraceptive pill free are Lazio, Piedmont, Emilia-Romagna, Tuscany and Puglia, along with the Autonomous Province of Trento. In all cases, however, there are limitations and generally free access is not universal.

The Regions that distribute free contraceptives

In the Laziothe latest to be added to the list (as of February 2023), free entry is provided for women under 25, while Piedmont the regional council has determined that “contraceptives will be distributed free of charge to women under 26 and to women aged between 26 and 45 who are unemployed or affected by the crisis, after IVG (within 24 months of the operation) and after childbirth ( within 12 months of childbirth)’. For this group of people, the free supply covers hormonal contraceptives (oral, transdermal and vaginal), subcutaneous implants, intrauterine devices (copper or progesterone IUD), emergency contraception (hormonal or copper IUD), female and male condoms.

In Emilia Romagnahowever, from 1 January 2018, women and men under 26 and women aged between 26 and 45 with unemployment benefits or workers affected by the crisis can receive free contraception and advice from a doctor or midwife, within 24 months after voluntary termination of pregnancy and at 12 months after delivery.

In Tuscany, people registered with the National Health System who live or reside in the Region between 14 and 25 years old, between 26 and 45 years old who face financial difficulties and women between 26 and 45 years old within 12 months of giving birth or within 24 of a voluntary termination of pregnancy, as well as students enrolled in the three Tuscan universities of Florence, Pisa and Siena and the University of Foreigners of Siena, aged up to 25 years. The list of free contraceptives includes the pill, patch, vaginal ring, intrauterine and subcutaneous devices and condoms.

Also to Sequins, the first Region to introduce free contraception in 2008, women under 24 and women with an income below a certain threshold can apply. In the Autonomous province of Trentofree entry is for women under 25.

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