Women's voices about emergency contraceptive pills "over-the-counter": a Swedish perspective

Contraception. 2002 Nov;66(5):339-43. doi: 10.1016/s0010-7824(02)00367-0.


This study aimed to describe women's experiences with the emergency contraceptive pill (ECP) as a prescription-free over-the-counter (OTC) product. Women (median age 24) who had bought ECP as an OTC product were interviewed in focus groups. Data were analyzed by content analysis. All participants appreciated the OTC availability. Timesaving aspects were seen as important benefits and pharmacies were seen as the right place to sell ECP. The media was the main source of information about OTC, probably due to the debates of the introduction of ECP as an OTC product in Sweden. All women discussed the mechanism of action. The women's experiences of interacting with the pharmacists were both positive and negative. Inconsistencies in routines with regard to providing ECP and different attitudes toward use of ECP among the pharmacists, were identified. The women expected up-to-date information about ECP and the OTC availability from gynecologists and other health professionals.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Contraceptives, Oral, Combined*
  • Contraceptives, Postcoital*
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Health Services Accessibility*
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Nonprescription Drugs*
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Pharmaceutical Services*
  • Sweden


  • Contraceptives, Oral, Combined
  • Contraceptives, Postcoital
  • Nonprescription Drugs