The French pill scare: towards a new contraceptive model?

Press release Published on 12 May 2014

Population and Societies n° 511, May 2014

 Authors: Nathalie Bajos, Mylène Rouzaud-Cornabas, Henri Panjo, Aline Bohet, Caroline Moreau et l’équipe Fécond

A major controversy arose around third- and fourth-generation pills in late 2012 and early 2013, which led to the end of their reimbursement by the French national health insurance system in March 2013. What were the consequences of the controversy for the contraceptive model in France? Analysing the Fecond survey, carried out a few months later, the authors examine recent changes in contraceptive practices and the contribution of the media debate to these changes.

The media debate in late 2012 and early 2013 on contraceptive pills did not reduce contraceptive prevalence,but the use of oral contraception decreased, falling from 50% in 2010 to 41% in 2013. A portion of women opted for other methods, notably IUDs (among the most educated), condoms, or "natural" methods (among the most disadvantaged). New social inequalities in contraceptive use appeared. The 2013 debate contributed to a diversification of contraceptive practices, although the pill remains dominant.

 Released on 13/05/2014