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Best Pract Res Clin Obstet Gynaecol. 2009 Apr;23(2):187-98. doi: 10.1016/j.bpobgyn.2008.11.007. Epub 2009 Jan 14.

Health economics of contraception.

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  • 1National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health, Centre for Outcomes, Research and Effectiveness, Research Department of Clinical, Educational & Health Psychology, University College London, 1-19 Torrington Place, London, UK.


Unintended pregnancies constitute a global problem associated with substantial costs to health and social services, and emotional distress to women, their families and society as a whole. Provision of contraception has been demonstrated to be a particularly cost-effective healthcare intervention as, besides preventing a significant number of unintended pregnancies, it also results in great cost-savings to society. Male and female sterilization and long-acting reversible methods (such as the copper-T intra-uterine device and the subdermal implant) constitute the most cost-effective contraceptive options, followed by other hormonal methods (such as oral contraceptives); barrier and behavioural methods (such as the male condom and withdrawal, respectively) are least cost-effective compared with other contraceptive options. Nevertheless, when compared with no method, they still prevent a large number of unintended pregnancies, thus leading to important cost-savings. Improvements in compliance and continuation rates are expected to further enhance the contraceptive benefits and cost-savings associated with contraceptive use.

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