DAWN Ontario: DisAbled Women's Network Ontario

Emergency Contraceptive Pill (ECP) Public Awareness Initiative
funded by Ontario Women's Health Council & Planned Parenthood

April 20, 2005

 

TORONTO, April 20, 2005 - The Ontario Women's Health Council (OWHC) is funding a public awareness initiative with Planned Parenthood Federation of Canada (PPFC) in support of Health Canada's decision to make Plan B, an emergency contraceptive pill (ECP), a non-prescription drug.

"Plan B ECP is a safe and effective method of reducing the risk of pregnancy after birth-control failure or unprotected sex," said Jane Pepino, Chair of the OWHC, "and we are looking forward to working with Planned Parenthood to help women understand how, when and where they can get the drug."

The public awareness initiative, ECP-INFO Ontario, will provide information about ECP in a confidential and respectful way, using tools and resources commonly used by Ontario women - such as print materials, toll-free phone lines and web information. The project will also help women understand the change in regulatory status of Plan B and identify where they can access the drug.

Until today, Ontario women had to see a physician to get a prescription for Plan B. Now, women will be able to purchase the drug at pharmacies "behind the counter." This means that women will have to consult with a pharmacist before they can get the drug, which will be kept in a restricted area of the pharmacy. (Read the CWHN release from May 18, 2004 urging that measures be taken to ensure equitable access to EC by making it available "over-the-counter" without pharmacist assistance)

"The OWHC funding has enabled us to implement this important initiative," said Linda Capperauld, Executive Director of PPFC. "It's imperative that women across Ontario know that Plan B ECP is available, that it's safe, and that it's part of their reproductive rights."

ECP can be used to reduce the risk of pregnancy up to three days after unprotected sex
. ECP does not terminate established pregnancies, and should not be confused with the "abortion pill," which is not licensed for sale in Canada.

The Ontario Women's Health Council was established by the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care in 1998. It provides the minister with expert advice on women's health matters and acts as an advocate for change in the health-care system. Council members have a wide range of expertise in fields such as research, public and community health, and corporate and consumer issues as they relate to women.

Version française disponible
http://tinyurl.com/b6trn
or ...
http://www.womenshealthcouncil.on.ca/Francais/Le-Conseil-ontarien-des-services-de-sante-pour-les-femmes-appuira-la-nouvelle-strategie-provinciale-de-lutte-contre-losteoporose.html



Fact Sheet
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Plan B Emergency Contraception Pill (ECP)

Effective April 19, 2005, upon direction from Health Canada, the Plan B
emergency contraceptive pill (ECP) will be available without a prescription.
(Previously, women have had to get a physician's prescription before they
could get the drug.) The Ontario Women's Health Council (OWHC) supports this
decision, and is funding a public awareness project, called ECP-INFO Ontario,
to be implemented by the Planned Parenthood Federation of Canada.

What is ECP?

An emergency contraceptive pill (ECP) is a hormonal pill that reduces the
risk of pregnancy after contraceptive failure or unprotected sex. They are
sometimes misleadingly called "morning-after pills." ECPs are effective,
however, for up to 72 hours (three days) after unprotected sex. Timely access
is important, because the sooner a woman takes ECP, the more effective it is.
ECPs are safe for any woman of reproductive age.

Is ECP the same as the abortion pill?

No. ECP has absolutely no effect on an established pregnancy. If a woman
is already pregnant, taking ECP will not cause an abortion. Abortion pills are
not licensed for sale in Canada.

Before today, how could women get ECP?

Plan B was approved by Health Canada in 2000 for use as an ECP. Federal
regulations specified that Plan B was a prescription drug under Schedule F of
the Food and Drug Regulations of the Food and Drugs Act, although provincial
legislation determined who had the authority to prescribe it. In Ontario,
women had to see a physician to get a prescription for ECP.

How can women get ECP now?

Plan B is now a non-prescription drug that will be available "behind the
counter." This means that women have to consult with a pharmacist before they
can get it. The pharmacist will do an assessment of the woman's need for the
drug, provide information on how to take ECP, and provide further
contraceptive counseling or a referral to another health-care provider if
needed.

How much will ECP cost?

If obtained at a pharmacy, the cost of ECP will be the wholesale cost
plus a mark-up decided by the pharmacy. This mark-up is unregulated. It is up
to the pharmacy to decide what price is fair. Some women can also obtain ECP
from sexual health clinics and public health units.

What is the ECP-INFO Ontario project?

The ECP-INFO Ontario project, which is funded by the OWHC and implemented
by the Planned Parenthood Federation of Canada (PPFC), will increase the
public's awareness of ECP, how it works, and where it can be obtained. It will
target youth, parents and health professionals in Ontario.

PPFC currently disseminates information about ECP through brochures, web
information, and a telephone hotline. The new project will: update existing
material (such as information about ECP on PPFC's website and the existing ECP
hotline) to reflect the ECP regulatory change; create new materials;
disseminate information about the existence of the hotline and web page; and
evaluate PPFC's process of disseminating the information and the effectiveness
of that information.

 

Read the CWHN - Canadian Women's Health Network press release from May 18, 2004 urging that measures be taken to ensure equitable access to EC by making it available "over-the-counter" without pharmacist assistance

 


Up Arrow - go to top of document Go To Top

Return to DAWN Ontario index page

Events Calendar
events, conferences etc

Featured News & Alerts

What's New
additions to the site indexed daily

Contact Us

Sign our Guestbook!

Follow this link to use internal Search feature

 

Add your voice to Make Poverty History

You can help put an end to global poverty. The time to act is now.
Add your voice to Make Poverty History.
Yes I want to Make Poverty History
.
Make Poverty History Platform

Sign On to Make Poverty History

 


Page last updated April 20, 2005

Website designed & maintained courtesy of Barbara Anello