Contraceptive pills to be cut from health subsidy list

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From August, as part of Spain’s cost-cutting measures, the public health system will stop subsidising eight third-generation birth control pills.

This will affect certain brands like Drosianelle, Yasminelle and Dretine. They contain the synthetic hormone drospirenone and the estrogen ethinylestradiol making them the most modern contraceptives on the market.

Health officials have said the decision to remove these prescription drugs is due to the criteria of “sustainability and resource optimisation.” One spokesperson for the Health Ministry has stated that these specific oral contraceptives used by over one million women “have no added advantage” over the ones still on the list.

There are experts as well as the opposition parties who are criticising the decision saying it may be negative towards women. Elena Valenciano, deputy secretary general of PSOE, accused the Popular Party government of wanting to extend “its ultraconservative ideology” and of taking a stand “against women” and their sexual and reproductive freedom.

 “It’s one more social cutback,” says gynaecologist Isabel Serrano, who considers it a major hurdle for women’s access to oral contraceptives.

From the State Family Planning Federation, Alexa Segura also criticises the effects of the measure. She states: “Many can only afford the subsidized pills. There are not so many methods out there that we can afford to take one out… And access to prophylactics is also complex. This means that doctors will have to prescribe the subsidized pill, not the ideal one, and users will have less of a choice.”

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