13 Nov 2014

Increasing Contraceptive Choice for Women and Girls

Innovative public-private partnership expands access to Pfizer’s injectable Sayana® Press to the world’s poorest countries.

The Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Pfizer Inc. announced today an agreement that will enable Sayana Press to be sold for US$1 per dose to qualified purchases. This will significantly expand access to an easy-to-use and effective injectable contraceptive, enabling women and adolescents in 69 of the world’s poorest countries to have access at a reduced or no cost.

Details of the agreement, the product, partners and the urgent need to increase access to voluntary family planning information, services and contraceptives can be read here.

CIFF is investing up to $15.6 million over two years as part of its strategy to improve adolescent reproductive health. Far too many teenage girls die or are harmed because of unwanted pregnancies. Adolescent girls account for only 11 per cent of births but more than 20% of maternal deaths and disability. Pregnancy during adolescence can have devastating effects on a teenager’s health, nutrition, education and economic opportunities.

CIFF’s funding will support a buy-down mechanism to enable Sayana Press to be sold at one dollar per dose to qualified purchasers. In addition, CIFF will invest in training health workers, social marketing, service delivery and performance monitoring in support of widening contraceptive choice in target countries.

The all-in-one, pre-filled, single use, non-reusable injection system is an important innovation. It eliminates the need to prepare a needle and syringe, so a wider range of health providers can administer the contraceptive. Studies have shown that Sayana Press is a popular choice which is easy to use.  Most teenagers in poor countries  lack access to contraception and this age group has the highest unmet demand. Teenage users of injectables are most likely to discontinue within a year, often due to lack of easy access. Sayana Press’s simplicity offers the potential to increase the number of health providers who can offer the product in non-clinic settings, such as at home, along with voluntary family planning advice.

It also offers the opportunity, eventually, for self-injection.  At the moment, Sayana Press is not approved or labelled for self-injection. An application seeking approval for self-injection by women of Sayana Press has been submitted to Regulatory Authorities in the European Union (including the United Kingdom). CIFF is also funding research through partners, in coordination with national family planning programs, to determine the feasibility, impact and cost-effectiveness of self-injection using Sayana Press in several countries, which would be subject to regulatory approval.