Finding emergency contraception in Italy can be tricky. You can’t just pop into a pharmacy and ask for the morning-after pill. You’re going to need a prescription from a doctor first.
If the clock is ticking and you find yourself in a bind, here’s how to get the morning after pill in Italy.
How to Get a Prescription for the Morning After Pill in Italy
In order to get a prescription you have a choice: visit a private clinic, or trust in the public health system.
For a visiting tourist, this latter option usually means a visit to the emergency room.
Italians generally tend to rely on public health care for emergencies. Private clinics – which are relatively inexpensive – are used for smaller matters, simply because it’s so much easier, more efficient and reliable.
For many, the public healthcare is a fall-back; not something to be used unless you have to.
When it comes to emergency contraception, Italian public healthcare can be fine.
What to Expect in an Italian Hospital
Accessing the morning after pill in Italy – and many European countries – can be a toss up. Some providers will offer it to you quickly, while others will make you wait.
One friend visited Florence’s major hospital, flashed her European Healthcare Card at them, waited 20 minutes then was simply handed a prescription.
However, another friend visited the very same hospital, and was told that there was nowhere else in Florence she could get the prescription that day. This was totally untrue, but this girl has only recently arrived in Italy and didn’t know this. After seven hours, she still hadn’t seen a doctor.
So you can see how relying on the public health service in such matters as this can be viewed as a bit of a gamble.
In Catholic Italy, doctors are not legally obliged to prescribe emergency contraception if they are “morally opposed” to it – meaning that you could foreseeably find yourself being refused the prescription even after a frustrating wait.
For many, the gamble just isn’t worth it.
Visiting a Private Doctor for Emergency Contraception in Italy
Visiting a private doctor in Italy can be advantageous for a number of reasons.
Private doctors in Italy are not going to cripple you financially. Consulting a doctor at the public hospital in Florence costs €25, whilst visiting a private doctor for a simple thing like contraception will only be around €30-50.
The advantages to visiting private doctors are plentiful. Seeing a private doctor means you can opt to find an English-speaking private health clinic. You can also book a same-day appointment, so you know you’ll be getting the contraception quickly. Quite often there are student or youth discounts available too.
If you can, check to see if the morning after pill is available on offer at the clinic before making your appointment.
When you find yourself in need of emergency contraception, you want to get it as soon as you can. And for that reason, I’d recommend booking an appointment with a private clinic as opposed to heading to the nearest ER. Your peace of mind is worth a little extra cost.