In France, more than 2,650,750 confirmed cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and 65,000 deaths had been reported as of January 5, 2021. French authorities decided to impose a national lockdown from March 17 to May 11, 2020.1 French people were not allowed to leave their homes unless necessary, but health structures and pharmacies remained open although focusing on pandemic management. We examined the use of oral contraceptives (OC), emergency contraception, levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine devices (LNG-IUDs), and ovulation inductors in France during lockdown and 1 month after. We hypothesized that this period could have had a deleterious effect on reproductive health care access.
We analyzed data from the National Health Data System, which provides information on health insurance claims for 99.5% of the population living in France. This database includes individual information on outpatient medical care and drugs. The French lockdown began on March 17, 2020, and was lifted starting on May 11, 2020. We screened all pharmacies’ dispensations between January 1, 2018, and June 7 in 2018, 2019, and 2020. Numbers of OC, emergency contraception, LNG-IUD, and ovulation inductor dispensations were measured every week and compared with the numbers of dispensations expected in 2020 without lockdown, on the basis of 2018 and 2019 usage and taking into account the annual trend.
Oral contraceptive dispensation increased during the first 2 weeks of lockdown compared with the expected consumption (+46.7% and +15.5%, respectively) and then decreased from March 31 to May 11, 2020. Compared with previous years, use of emergency contraception fell during lockdown; we thus estimated that 38,429 French women did not take emergency contraception during lockdown.
Similar patterns were observed for LNG-IUDs, with 21,250 fewer LNG-IUDs dispensed than expected (to a maximum of −73% between April 6 and April 12, 2020). Use of ovulation inductors fell sharply during the entire lockdown period. It is estimated that 44,510 women did not benefit from ovulation inductors during lockdown compared with previous years.
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