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HEALTH

Viagra: Corsicans judged the kings of France

Up until now Corsica was best known for its idyllic beauty, it’s cuisine and it’s criminal underworld but it now has another, perhaps unwanted, claim to fame – that of being the Viagra champions of France.

Viagra: Corsicans judged the kings of France
When it comes to viagra, the Corsicans are the kings of France. Bertrand Guay/AFP

France produced its very first Viagra rankings on Friday which revealed the Mediterranean island of Corsica is sitting pretty at the top of the table.

The Corsicans, known in recent years for their fervent nationalism and organized criminal gangs, spend more on Viagra tablets than any other department of France.

In second place were the Alsatians of Alsace and in third place the folk from Paris. Men in Limousin and Auvergne, for whatever reason, seem to have less need for Viagra, as these two departments came bottom of the table.

The rankings were based on a survey of 4,600 pharmacies across France by the firm Celtipharm. Le Télégramme, a regional newspaper from Brittany published a Viagra map of France (see below) based on the findings.

The newspaper speculated if Corsica’s position at the top of the table can be put down to the local’s Italian origin and “a sexual appetite like that Berlusconi’s”.

“Or do they simply have more time on their hands on an island where the beauty doesn’t mask the lack of things to do,” Le Télégramme continued.

Vincent Auvigne, an epidemiologist, responsible for analyzing the survey said it was clear that consumption was higher in the eastern part of France, which may be due to people coming across the border from Switzerland and Germany.

 “It’s a hard map to interpret,” he said. “What is clear, though, is that consumption of viagra is seasonal, with a peak in the summer and that it is taken more in urban areas that in rural parts."

Viagra in France is not reimbursed by the social security system and costs €72 for 4 tablets – "more expensive the foie gras", Le Telegramme notes.

Nevertheless sales of Viagra have shot up in France in recent years, rising by 21 percent between 2009 and 2013. Last year €142 million worth of viagra pills were sold in France.

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HEALTH

France brings in free contraception for all women aged 18-25

Free birth control for all women under 25 will be available in France from Saturday, expanding a scheme targeting under-18s to ensure young women don't stop taking contraception because they cannot afford it.

France brings in free contraception for all women aged 18-25
A doctor holds an interuterine contraceptive device (IUD) before inserting it in a patient. Photo: Adek Berry/AFP

The scheme, which could benefit three million women, covers the pill, IUDs, contraceptive patches and other methods composed of steroid hormones. Contraception for minors was already free in France.

Several European countries, including Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and Norway, make contraception free for teens. Britain makes several forms of contraception free to all.

France announced the extension to women under 25 in September, saying surveys showed a decline in the use of contraception mainly for financial reasons.

The move is part of a series of measures taken by President Emmanuel Macron’s government to boost women’s rights and alleviate youth poverty. The free provision is supported by women’s groups including the association En Avant Tous.

“Between 18 and 25-years-old, women are very vulnerable because they lose a lot of rights compared to when they were minors and are very precarious economically,” spokeswoman Louise Delavier told AFP.

Leslie Fonquerne, an expert in gender issues, said there was more to be done.

“This measure in no way resolves the imbalance in the contraceptive burden between women and men,” the sociologist said.

In some developed countries, the free contraception won by women after decades of campaigning is coming under attack again from the religious right.

In the United States, former president Barack Obama’s signature health reform, known as Obamacare, gave most people with health insurance free access to birth control.

But his successor Donald Trump scrapped the measure, allowing employers to opt out of providing contraception coverage on religious grounds — a decision upheld by the Supreme Court in 2020.

Poland’s conservative government has also heavily restricted access to emergency contraception as part of its war on birth control.

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