After announcing a major debate on the healthcare system in the Sunday newspaperthen gave an update on France Inter on the eighth wave of covid-19the Minister of Health, François Braun, announced on Tuesday, September 20, in a daily interview 20 minutes, free emergency contraception and screening for sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
“With regard to female contraception, we are strengthening (…) the protection of women by facilitating their access to emergency contraception (or the morning after pill) in pharmacies, free of charge and without a prescription, at any age”announces Mr. Braun.
Until now, the morning after pill was available free of charge and without a prescription only for minors, in pharmacies, from school nurses or in screening or sexual health centres, and for adult students.
The cost in pharmacies for adults varied between three and twenty euros depending on the medication, with the possibility of partial reimbursement by Social Security on presentation of a prescription.
"The government is taking concrete action to ensure that women no longer give up emergency contraception for financial reasons, the first reason for giving up"commented in a press release the Minister Delegate for Equality between Women and Men, Isabelle Rome. "At a time when we are witnessing a rise in conservatism in Europe and around the world, our government is once again demonstrating that gender equality and women's right to control their bodies are absolute priorities"she added.
Furthermore, Mr. Braun stated that he would take “the High Authority for Health to have recommendations from scientific authorities on male contraception”.
Bundle of causes
Regarding the screening of STIs, only that of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV, responsible for AIDS) has so far been free. “From now on, the possibility of screening will be extended to all sexually transmitted infections to fight as early as possible against the resumption of infections”, explained the minister. It will be free and without prescription up to 26 years old.
Mr. Braun has in fact observed that “the increase in sexually transmitted infections, specifically Chlamydia and the gonococcus »and believes that "all areas of prevention must be improved"because “France is lagging behind other European countries. Only 2% of our budget is devoted to prevention, compared to 4% for our neighbours”. As for the reasons, “it is very complicated” to know them, he said, referring to "a lack of prevention, information or a more general relaxation".
These two measures will be included in the Social Security financing bill for 2023, which will be presented to the Council of Ministers on September 26.