EllaOne is a new emergency contraception pill that can be taken up to five days after intercourse to prevent pregnancy. However, the new pill is so contentious that most of the Finnish public and even GPs do not know of them as they have been outlawed from professional physicians’ journals.
The Emergency contraception (EC) launched in November works up to two days longer than the traditional pill which can theoretically be used within three days after sex. EllaOne, made by France’s HRA Pharma, must not be advertised in Finland, with local partner Leiras adhering strictly to advertising guidelines – meaning doctors and women who may benefit from its use are oblivious to its existence. As a prescription medicine, the need for GPs to be aware of the medication is vital.
The traditional emergency contraceptive pill, which contains levonorgestrel, was released amidst considerable resistance in 2002. The belief was that retroactive contraception would encourage promiscuity. It too was banned from advertising and sold strictly under the counter. It has not been completely successful with a 2 percent pregnancy rate reported among those who have used it.
Emergency contraception pills have falsely been called abortion pills in the past and the new EllaOne is likely to fuel further debate, particularly on moral grounds. Such pills have also been referred to as ‘penance pills’ and the ‘morning after pill’ which imply lack of responsibility on the part of the user, with Helsingin Sanomat even suggesting these names were in reference to increased libido brought about by alcohol consumption.