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Study Finds Z-CAN Program, Supported by Medicines360, Increased Use of LARCs by Women in Puerto Rico During Zika Outbreak

Access to Full Range of Contraception, Plus Patient-Centered Counseling, Successful Formula for Woman-led Prevention of Unintended Pregnancy

SAN FRANCISCO – Medicines360, a global nonprofit women’s health pharmaceutical company with a mission of expanding access to quality medicines, today highlighted a new report published in The Lancet Public Health. The report examined the effectiveness of the CDC Foundation’s (CDCF) Zika Contraception Access Network (Z-CAN) in Puerto Rico as a response to the Zika epidemic. Medicines360 was a proud supporter of the initiative to help providers educate women on the full range of contraceptive options and make those options available same-day at no cost.

Prevention of unintended pregnancy is a primary strategy to reduce adverse Zika-related pregnancy and birth outcomes. This led the CDCF, with technical assistance from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and a diverse group of stakeholders and organizations, including Medicines360, to establish Z-CAN. This network of 153 specially trained participating providers offered client-centered contraceptive counseling and a full range of reversible contraception options at no cost to women who wanted to avoid pregnancy during the 2016-17 Zika virus outbreak. The Lancet Public Health published a study authored by Eva Lathrop, MD, MPH, and colleagues examining the initial results on the impact of Z-CAN.

The study found that while 4 percent of women in the program (767) had used a long-acting reversible contraceptive (LARC) before Z-CAN, 68 percent (14,259) chose and received a LARC method at their initial visit with a provider in the Z-CAN network. Of the women participating in a patient satisfaction survey, 93 percent said they were very satisfied with the services received.

“When the full range of contraceptives is made readily available alongside patient-centered education and counseling, women and their families are better equipped to avoid the economic, societal and health burdens associated with unintended pregnancy. This has now been shown in the case of the Zika epidemic in Puerto Rico,” said Jessica Grossman, MD, Chief Executive Officer of Medicines360. “Through our support and that of other organizations via the CDC Foundation, women in Puerto Rico have gained increased control over their own health. We are committed to closing gaps in women’s access to medicines, and are delighted that the Z-CAN program has been shown to be an effective model for rapid implementation of reversible contraceptive services in an emergency setting.”

A pregnant woman, even one without symptoms, can pass Zika to her developing fetus; infection during pregnancy can cause serious birth defects. In 2016, the CDC estimated that 65 percent of pregnancies in Puerto Rico were unintended and approximately 138,000 women were at risk for unintended pregnancy. The CDC also noted that contraception access in Puerto Rico was limited by reduced availability of the full range of reversible methods, high out-of-pocket costs, a lack of patient education, and a shortage of providers trained in insertion, removal and management of LARCs. By supporting Z-CAN’s efforts, Medicines360 progressed its mission of expanding access to quality medicines for women around the globe.

About Medicines360

Medicines360, located in San Francisco, California, is a nonprofit global women’s health pharmaceutical company with a mission to expand access to quality medicines for all women regardless of their socioeconomic status, insurance coverage or geographic location. Medicines360 is committed to working with healthcare providers, advocacy groups and patients to deliver innovative and meaningful treatments that help women around the world have greater access to the medicines they need. For more information, visit www.medicines360.org.

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