France to make morning-after pill available to all women free of charge

The French government plans to make the morning-after pill free to all women in France, the health minister announced on Wednesday.

France to make morning-after pill available to all women free of charge
(Photo: Mychele Daniau / AFP)

The morning-after contraceptive pill will soon be made available to all women in France free of charge and without a prescription, regardless of their age, Health Minister François Braun has said.

Screening for sexually transmitted diseases will also be free and available without prescription up to the age of 26, Braun said in an interview published in the 20 Minutes daily newspaper.

Both measures will be included in the 2023 Social Security Financing Bill, which will be presented to the Council of Ministers on September 26th.

Until now, the morning-after pill was only available free of charge and without a prescription to minors, at pharmacies, school nurses or sexual health or screening centers, and to female students who were of age. 

The cost in pharmacies for the morning-after pill for adults varied between €3 and €20, a cost that could be partially reimbursed by Social Security upon presentation of a prescription.

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France declares epidemic as flu cases soar

The French health authority has declared a flu epidemic, while the country also faces a new wave of Covid cases and bronchitis is affecting young children.

France declares epidemic as flu cases soar

Santé publique France made the declaration of an epidemic on Wednesday, adding that three deaths have been recorded due to flu, while 20 patients are in intensive care.

With Covid-19 and bronchitis cases also currently high, health experts have urged people to get vaccinated – especially those over 65. “It is important for people at risk to be vaccinated against flu without delay,” insisted Santé publique France.

READ ALSO Flu vaccine opens to all adults in France: What you need to know

Cases have hit full epidemic levels in Brittany and Normandy, while the virus is in pre-epidemic phase in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, Grand Est, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, Centre-Val de Loire, Hauts-de-France and Île-de-France, with an increasing number of people heading to hospitals’ emergency departments with influenza-like illness. It is expected to cross over to epidemic levels in the coming days and weeks.

READ ALSO French PM calls on commuters to wear masks as Covid cases rise

It has already hit French overseas territories including Martinique, Mayotte and Reunion.

Flu has hit epidemic levels much earlier than last season, when it did not peak until early Spring.