- Global Pharma News & Resources

HRA Pharma's ellaOne is the first emergency contraception available without medical prescription to women of all ages in Italy

Consumer healthcare company HRA Pharma’s ellaOne® brand is the first emergency contraceptive pill to be made available in Italy to women under 18 years of age without a prescription. 

HRA Pharma is delighted that National regulatory authorities have made equal access to ellaOne for all women. Now Italian women are equated with the rest of European women. 

The achievement marks a milestone for HRA Pharma’s emergency contraception services to young customers, helping women feel empowered about their own body and sexual activity.


Consumer healthcare company, HRA Pharma is delighted to announce that its ellaOne® brand is the first emergency contraceptive pill in Italy offered to women under 18 years of age without requiring a prescription. The achievement marks a significant break with previous regulatory restrictions surrounding the use of emergency contraception by minors. 

Since 2008, HRA Pharma has been continuously implementing its “reclassification of ellaOne®” initiative, with the aim of raising awareness around emergency contraception and making the morning after pill easily accessible to women of all ages. In May 2015, HRA Pharma made ellaOne® available behind the counter to women aged 18 and above, with minors still requiring a mandatory prescription. 

The different status of ellaOne® for women of legal age and minors meant that the strict regulations around the pill were creating a divisive barrier for young women. The legal age for sexual consent in Italy is 14, which usually means a four year period in which minors may be engaging in sexual activity and are unable to easily access immediate emergency contraception. 

HRA Pharma has been reclassifying ellaOne® to engage directly with young consumers and educate them on the safety and effectiveness of emergency contraception. To this end, the website was approved in September 2018 after extensive communication with medical institutions. The website, offering advice and guidance to women of all ages on how to use ellaOne® safely, is the first of its kind in Italy to provide detailed information for a behind the counter medicine. 

In November 2019, the marketing video for ellaOne® was approved after several submissions and adjustments. Finally, in March 2020, a Scientific Technical Committee of AIFA, Italy’s national regulatory body, allowed ellaOne® to be of the same regulatory status for all women, accomplishing HRA’s slogan: “ellaOne® without prescription for all”.  

The success of the initiative is a huge step forward for both HRA Pharma and the empowerment of young Italian women, allowing them to take control of their own body and sexual activity. Dispensing with prescriptions for Italian women of all ages forms part of HRA’s broader ethical initiative to lower cultural and personal barriers relating to the use of emergency contraception. 

Cristián Dufeu, General Manager of HRA Pharma, Italy, says, “Since 2008 our global and local cross-functional teams have been striving towards accomplishing this complex and challenging task. We hope to bring about a change in the way young Italian women use and understand emergency contraception from here onwards.” 

David Wright, CEO of HRA Pharma, says, “Making ellaOne® readily available to women of all ages across the globe without a prescription has been the vision of HRA Pharma for over a decade now, and our recent success in Italy marks a milestone achievement. I hope this will be a turning point both for ellaOne® and for the way people perceive emergency contraception more broadly.”

Editor Details

Last Updated: 14-Oct-2020