An exciting milestone for contraceptive access worldwide, the levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine system (LNG IUS), also known as the hormonal intrauterine device (IUD), has been added to the USAID and UNFPA Product Catalogs for the first time in the product’s 30 year history. Over the past 65 years, the Population Council has developed and introduced several of the world’s most effective and popular contraceptive methods, including the LNG IUS distributed by Bayer as Mirena®.
The addition of Mirena® to these two product catalogs is an important step forward to increase contraceptive options to meet demand worldwide. It provides a critical pathway to expand procurement and distribution of the LNG IUS in more than 50 low- and middle-income countries with support from USAID, the largest bilateral donor to family planning globally, as well as the UNFPA Supplies Partnership.
The Population Council began developing Mirena® in the late 1970s with the aim of creating a long-acting, reversible contraceptive combining the beneficial features of both hormonal contraceptives and intrauterine devices. The recent inclusion of Mirena® in USAID and UNFPA product catalogs is a critical step in improving access, which the Council has been working towards with the International Contraceptive Access (ICA) Foundation, a public-private partnership between the Council and Bayer with the aim of addressing challenges to access, particularly for underserved communities. The ICA Foundation donates the LNG IUS to service delivery organizations working in low-resource settings throughout the world, and, to date, the ICA Foundation has donated over 150,000 LNG IUS devices to organizations in 37 low- and middle-income countries, helping to prevent thousands of unintended pregnancies, unsafe abortions, and maternal deaths.
The Council remains committed to making available our latest contraceptive technologies to the countries and communities we wish to serve and is proud to have provided momentum to efforts resulting in these catalog announcements.