Regulatory standards and processes for OTC contraception and medical abortion in five countries in the Eastern Mediterranean Region

May 7, 2021 | Global news, Publications

In our recent publication, Concept Foundation reports on the regulatory standards and processes for over the counter (OTC) availability of hormonal contraception and drugs for medical abortion in Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Lebanon and Tunisia.

The main conclusions indicate that none of the investigated countries have an official regulatory procedure to facilitate moving products requiring a prescription to being available OTC. Across the five countries, three had publicly available lists of products which were legally available as OTC, on which only one relevant product (EllaOne in Lebanon) was listed. Despite these facts, multiple sources suggested that sexual and reproductive medication was available in these countries without a prescription. 

Overall, the study emphasises that the need for transparent and consistent regulatory guidance, procedures and processes across the EMR was evident. This would facilitate increased interest by marketing authorisation holders to support products being made available OTC and enable simpler and reliable access to SRH for users.

This work received funding from the UNDP-UNFPA-UNICEF-WHO-World Bank Special Programme of Research, Development and Research Training in Human Reproduction (HRP), a cosponsored programme executed by the World Health Organization (WHO).

WHO and HRP have published a special supplement on self-care interventions for sexual and reproductive health covering countries across the WHO Eastern Mediterranean Region. 

Catalysing policy change to introduce and scale up self-care interventions for SRHR: Lessons from the Eastern Mediterranean Region in the journal of Health Research Policy and Systems shares examples of effective tools and partnerships which can be a game-changer for accelerating positive, sustainable health impact at the national and local level, driven by the health needs of people.