As reproductive rights and family planning resources are threatened in several jurisdictions, Quebec is expanding access. Now, Quebec residents won't have to worry about paying a high price for effective so-called "morning-after pills." 

Allergan Inc. and the Régie de l'assurance maladie du Québec (RAMQ) announced that the emergency contraceptive, "ella," will now be covered under the province's health care plan. "ella" is taken for the prevention of pregnancy up to five (5) days after unprotected sex or contraceptive failures. 

Dr. Fabien Simard, president of Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Quebec said in an official press release (in French) that "from now on, all Quebec women looking for an emergency contraceptive will have at their disposal several effective therapeutic options." He also added that this announcement is "excellent news" for the women of Quebec.

According to the company website, "ella" is "the only morning-after pill proven effective when pregnancy risk is highest." 

It comes in a 30-milligram format and is said to not affect a woman's long-term fertility. The common side effects are like those of any other morning-after pill and include headaches, nausea, dizziness, and menstrual pain. 

Now available across all pharmacies in Quebec, "ella" is the only morning-after pill in the province that women can use without breaking the bank.

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The company is quick to point out that even though "ella" isn't recommended for already pregnant women, the morning-after pill isn't an abortion pill. 

Peter Dale, head of the Women's Health Department at Allergan Inc. says that "we welcome the Quebec government's decision to support the reproductive rights of women." Headquartered in Ireland, the company serves over 100 countries and is a global leader for research and development in women's contraceptive products.

Women across the province now have better access to an emergency contraceptive pill and that should be celebrated. It should be noted that emergency contraceptives don't protect against STIs.

More information on "ella" can be found on the company's official website here

For a complete list of medications that are covered by the RAMQ, please consult this official government list (in French).

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