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PHARMAC decision supports equity

New Zealanders are about to have more contraceptive choice than ever before with two devices becoming available at no cost.

PHARMAC has announced that Mirena and Jaydess - two highly effective forms of long acting contraception - be available free for contraception from 1 November. Family Planning expects more people will choose one of these devices for contraception once it is free.

"Funding these two additional devices for contraception will improve equity and access to health care. It means everyone, regardless of their income, can now choose a Mirena or a Jaydess as a contraceptive option. This is a great step forward for New Zealand - it’s something we have wanted for a very long time and we are delighted," Family Planning chief executive Jackie Edmond says.

While the the devices have been available in New Zealand for a number of years, they have only been accessible to those who could afford the $300 - $500 cost and to a small number of people with medical conditions who qualify for a free device.

"We know that cost can stop people getting the contraceptive that is best for them. We saw demand for implants increase in August 2010 when they became available at no cost.We expect the same thing to happen when Mirena and Jaydess become a no-cost option," Ms Edmond says.

Not all contraception is suitable for everyone. Many people will need to try more than one type before they settle on something that works well for them.

"Cost can be one reason that people don’t choose a particular contraceptive type - and that’s not acceptable. Access to highly effective, long acting contraception makes a real and positive difference - on a daily basis," Ms Edmond says.

Quick Facts:
- Mirena and Jaydess are inserted into the uterus and release the hormone levonorgestrel.

- The Mirena works for about 5 years and the Jaydess for about 3 years

- They are fit and forget contraception

- They are 99 per cent effective - less than 1 pregnancy per 100 users per year.


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