Europe is taking a bold step to increase its drug approval process. The European Medicines Agency said late on Tuesday that the COVID intrauterine contraceptive pill, sold by Merck under the brand name Yaz, could be used in the most extreme circumstances – anywhere from 72 hours to 12 hours after intercourse.
Yaz was among the first two contraceptives to gain European approval for use during pregnancy as a self-medication option. It was made possible by two drugs found in virtually all childbirths: labor and delivery drugs called oxytocin and digoxin, and the anticoagulant warfarin.
Recreational sex is not typically considered an acute medical condition, and it could only be used in times of extreme crisis and disaster. But the WHO noted that emergency contraception can help women prevent or stop an unwanted pregnancy in a situation where the woman’s partner would be able to access condoms or other safe contraception.
So far, it is the only product approved for that purpose across the European Union.
If emergency contraception is approved in the U.S., Yaz and other brands will still have to obtain approval from the FDA, and it’s uncertain whether they will be able to shift their products over quickly. But this is one step toward an eventual, universal drug approval process.
More on Yaz from The New York Times
Another Key Drug Approved for Emergency Contraception Use
‘Unexpected Side Effects’ Of New Contraceptive Combo Treat Abortion Again
Pregnant Women Who Prefer Not To Have an Abortion Can Find Help If They Feel Facing Pain