Sooo, you’ve landed in Barcelona and you are planning to have some good old fashioned fun, eh?
Congratulations you lucky duck! 😉
Before getting to the fun part though, you want to make sure you don’t have any “unexpected surprises” along the way, right?
Very wise, very wise indeed…
Not so long ago I found myself potentially being in a similar situation. That being the case, I was doing some research.
You see, contraceptive pills are one of those things, where depending on the country you are in, the rules of purchase can vary drastically.
In some countries they are horrendously expensive. In other countries they are specifically age restricted. For some countries you will need a doctor. Then again in other countries you can get them from the pharmacy like candy.
When I first looked into this topic in Barcelona, it seemed that getting birth control pills here wouldn’t be quite so straight forward.
However, now having successfully test purchased a 3-month supply, I’m happy to report, that that isn’t the case at all.
Throughout my journey of contraceptive pill discovery in Barcelona though, I did learn a few interesting things along the way.
That being the case, I thought I’d share them below. Who knows – you may learn a thing or two too!
1. Contraceptive pills are available over the counter at the pharmacy
Originally, I thought that you had to go to the doctor to make an appointment to get the pill. A number of different forums were saying that that was the process. They said you needed a prescription to get them from the pharmacy.
However, being a busy person, with a full time job, this would be quite inconvenient for me. As such, I decided to pop into my local pharmacy to see whether I could just cheekily ask for what I wanted without a prescription instead.
Turns out that was totally possible – no questions asked. Real life: 1, Internet: 0!
2. Contraceptive brand names are different in Spain
The brand of contraceptive pill I have used in the past is called Mercilon 21. It’s a low dosage combined hormone pill I discovered in South Korea around 10 years ago.
I haven’t needed to use the pill an awful lot during that time. However, I know it’s a pill that hasn’t given me terrible side effects like mood swings and a severely decreased sex drive when I did use it.
(Not something that can be said of the first pill I used – Microgynon 30…)
As such, I wanted to make sure I was going back on that pill. Not some random new one I didn’t know anything about.
However, when I went into the pharmacy to ask about Microgynon 21, it turned out that that brand is not stocked in Spain. Or at least not at that pharmacy. A quick online search also turned up blank…
Instead, the pharmacist suggested they had an alternative brand with exactly the same ingredients in it. It was called “Suavuret”
Ok then… seems like we were getting somewhere!
2. Generics are the most widely sold contraceptive pills in Spain
When Suavuret was offered to me, I didn’t think twice about any other alternative. In fact, I didn’t even know there was such a thing as a “generic” contraceptive pill.
It was actually the pharmacist who said “Let me take a look if I can find you a cheaper alternative for you. These pills are kind of expensive”.
So, off he went to take a look and he came back with a piece of paper with two numbers on it:
Suavuret (3 months) – 49.95 €
Generics (3 months) – 8.79 €
My immediate reaction was… obviously I’m going to go for the brand name!
The quality is naturally going to be superior and I’m not messing with my body with some unknown, no name generic.
Then I took a moment and realised that I was actually already making a change. After all.. Suavuret is not Mercilon.
Therefore, I couldn’t actually vouch for the quality or effects of that pill anyways. Would trying a generic be any different?
So, I asked the pharmacist for his opinion and he said that essentially the two pill boxes were the exact same thing. The actual ingredients of the pills were identical too.
He said that in Spain, generics are actually the most commonly used form of contractive pill. I suppose given that stark price difference, it make sense why. As such, I could only suppose they were just as effective…
Why the drastic cost difference?
When I went home to do some further research, I found out that oftentimes the only difference between brand vs generic pills are minor components like colourings and pill binding agents.
My research also indicated that the reason behind the stark price difference of branded vs generic pills was related to research and development costs.
Essentially, branded companies are the ones that research, invent and develop their pills and as such have pretty steep R&D and advertising costs attached to their name. Costs that they naturally look to pass on to the consumer.
Generic pill manufacturers, on the other hand, only have to worry about the cost of producing the physical pill. They don’t do any fancy research, marketing, development etc. As such, they can also afford to pass those savings on to consumers
Soooo… that being the case, I decided to take the leap!
… And that’s the end of my journey so far.
I can’t yet tell you how the experience with generics has been yet, as I haven’t started on them. However, at least if you’re looking to buy some contraceptive pills you now know your options.
So, that’s me spreading positive karma out to you today. 😉
Now, with that said… go get yourself some contraceptive pills and have fuuuuunnnnnn!
P.s. Apparently this only applies to humans 15 years and older…