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After the revolution: The pill turns 60 and Bayer sets new goal to help 100 million women
Mississauga, ON, September 25, 2020 – Almost six decades ago, the first contraceptive pill enabled women to gain control over their own bodies at a previously unprecedented level. For the first time, they were able to prevent pregnancy by taking a hormonal preparation. This revolutionary method of family planning became a turning-point for society and a key driver of emancipation.
In 1960, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first oral contraceptive. However, it was only launched in the UK and Canada in 1961 and in the US in 1972. The UN estimates that today 151 million women all over the world aged between 15 and 49 use the pill as their contraceptive method of choice.
Different approaches for different needs
Bayer Inc.’s aim is to enable women to take control of planning their lives, and to support physicians in meeting the wide-ranging personal needs of their patients. The company’s product profile spans oral contraceptives based on a variety of progestins, low-hormone products, non-ethinyl estradiol-based contraceptives and intrauterine systems (IUS).
But despite the wide range of contraceptives available today, unplanned pregnancies still occur. Experts estimate that around 44 percent of all pregnancies are unplanned; this rises by 20 percentage points in developing economic countries compared to developed countries (65 percent compared to 45 percent). From 2015–19, there were on average 121 million unintended pregnancies each year globally. In Canada, nearly 50% of pregnancies are unplanned.
Education supports self-determination in family planning
For many decades, Bayer has dedicated itself to providing reliable family planning to women throughout the world, and thus reducing the number of unplanned pregnancies. Part of this approach involves providing education on contraceptive methods and principles. The company is involved in numerous educational initiatives to provide consumers with information, including World Contraception Day and the associated “Your Life” campaign. “Your Life” is aimed at 13- to 25-year-olds and is supported by a host of non-profit organizations. It is also part of the commitments listed under the UN movement “Every Women Every Child” (EWEC). Together with its partners, Bayer launched the annual highlight of the campaign, World Contraception Day, in 2007, which is celebrated around the world on September 26 every year.
In addition to its educational activities, Bayer continues to invest in multi-stakeholder aid programs and has set a new goal to provide 100 million women in low- and middle-income countries with access to modern contraception methods by 2030.
About Women’s Healthcare at Bayer
Bayer is a recognized leader in the area of women’s healthcare, with a long-standing commitment to delivering science for a better life by advancing a portfolio of innovative treatments. Bayer offers a wide range of effective short- and long-acting birth control methods, as well as therapies for menopause management and gynecological diseases. Today, Bayer’s research efforts focus on finding new treatment options for gynecological diseases with a high medical need and includes several investigational compounds in various stages of pre-clinical and clinical development. Together, these projects reflect the company’s approach to research, which prioritizes targets and pathways with the potential to alter the way that gynecological diseases are treated. Additionally, Bayer intends to provide 100 million women in low-and-middle income countries by 2030 with access to family planning by funding multi-stakeholder aid programs and by ensuring the supply of affordable modern contraceptives. This is part of the comprehensive sustainability measures and commitments from 2020 onwards and in line with the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.
Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the life science fields of healthcare and nutrition. Its products and services are designed to benefit people by supporting efforts to overcome the major challenges presented by a growing and aging global population. At the same time, the Group aims to increase its earning power and create value through innovation and growth. Bayer is committed to the principles of sustainable development, and the Bayer brand stands for trust, reliability and quality throughout the world. In fiscal 2019, the Group employed around 104,000 people and had sales of 43.5 billion euros. Capital expenditures amounted to 2.9 billion euros, R&D expenses to 5.3 billion euros. For more information, go to www.bayer.ca.
 United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs (2019). Contraceptive Use by Method 2019, URL: https://www.un.org/en/development/desa/population/publications/pdf/family/ContraceptiveUseByMethodDataBooklet2019.pdf [07/03/2020]
 Bearak, J., Popinchalk, A., Alkerma, L., Sedgh, G., (2018). Global, regional, and subregional Trends in Unintended Pregnancy and its Outcomes from 1990 to 2014: Estimates from a Bayesian Hierarchical Model. The Lancet, Volume 6, Issue 4, PE380-E389, URL: https://www.thelancet.com/journals/langlo/article/PIIS2214-109X(18)30029-9/fulltext [07/03/2020]
 Bearak,J., Popinchalk A., Ganatra B., Molle, A., Tunçalp, O.,Beavin, C.,et al (2020). Unintended pregnancy and abortion by income, region, and the legal status of abortion: estimates from a comprehensive model for 1990–2019. URL: https://www.thelancet.com/journals/langlo/article/PIIS2214-109X(20)30315-6/fulltext [09/24/20]
 Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada. Unintended Pregnancy.URL: https://www.pregnancyinfo.ca/your-pregnancy/special-consideration/unintended-pregnancy/ [09/23/2020]