The contraceptive coil should be added to Malta’s essential medicines list, according to chief pharmacy lobbyist Mario Debono.
“There should not be a single woman who can’t afford contraceptives. We can and should subside it considerably or put it out for free,” Debono, who heads the pharmaceuticals section of the Chamber of Small and Medium Enterprises, told Lovin Malta.
Activists and politicians have previously called for the Oral Contraceptive Pill (OCP) to be put onto Malta’s essential medicines list, which would help end the abrupt stock shortages that existed before cargo disruptions caused by COVID-19.
However, Debono believes it won’t be practical to put oral contraceptives pills on the essential medicines list, because they’re patient-specific and condition-specific.
“Moreover, when a pharmaceutical is considered essential, the state will often look into acquiring it in a generic brand, which is cheaper than those that are patented. However, when it comes to OCPs, newer packs are under patent so it’s much more difficult to get generic versions of them,” he said.
Therefore, the state should subsidise intrauterine devices like the jaydess, mirena and the copper coil, which would cover a larger amount of patients.
“We have excellent health care in Malta. This is a question of common sense, we need to make sure people who are sexually active aren’t left in jeopardy because they can’t protect themselves.”
“That being said, I do draw the line at abortion,” Debono said.
Lovin Malta has previously written about several women who shared their struggles with the shortages of different contraceptive brands. Some pills like Qlaira are used beyond a means to avoid pregnancy, but for many conditions like Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), endometriosis and acne have been out of stock for months.
Besides being the shortages, this medicine is only available to those who can fork hundreds of euro a year.
Making sure contraceptives are accessible could be one initiative taken on by the Health Ministry as part of its update to the decade-old sexual health policy this year.
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