Here’s a special entry for all you ladies of child bearing years living in China. (If that category doesn’t include you, please feel free to skip. I’ll be back to my chinglish/history type articles soon enough.)
When I lived in America, I managed to talk my Ob-gyn into giving me a year supply of birth control pills. That year is now up, and I was forced to figure out how to buy some in China. How hard could it be, right? I figured that with China’s one-child policy they would have an ample supply of birth control pills possibly even the brands I use back home. But when I actually began searching for information I found little out there so I had to dig. I don’t do anything important without a lot of research first, so this is what I found.
There is basically one western brand available pretty much everywhere in China. It’s called Marvelon made by a European company called Organon which recently merged with Merck. One package of 21 pills was a mere 20 yuan (less than $3) and it is available over the counter at (I would assume) all pharmacies. You can easily recognize a pharmacy as they have a green cross out front. Some pharmacies have Chinese and Western medicine so don’t go to the counter with giant roots, and small wooden drawers (even if it looks cool) cause they can’t help you.
Write down, or print out the characters for contraceptives and Marvelon and hand it to the clerk. They will give you a package that does have some English on it so you can verify it. Make sure they don’t accidentally give you the morning after pill! (The picture at the top is the picture I took from the pack I just bought. So yours should look similar.) I was able to buy 3 packs at one time so stocking up seems to not be a problem. The active ingredients are 0.15 mg Desogestrel and 30ug (that’s micrograms) Ethinylestradiol.
There is one small worrying fact that I should mention here. While my packets are new (produced on August 2009 and good until July 2012) I can’t find any modern information from the manufacturers. Like I said, Marvelon is made by Organon, but when you go to the website it redirects you to Merck. Then, on Merck’s website there is no mention of Marvelon. I’m not sure if it is just a glitch of two companies merger or what, but I thought I should pass on that info. I do know a number of people, first hand, that have been taking Marvelon in China for awhile and have not had problems. Of course the internet is full of horror stories about side affects of taking Marvelon, as there is for just about every type of medication out there.
There is supposedly another western brand also available in China. It is called Minulet. It is made by Wyeth Pharmaceuticals and I found it listed on the companies Chinese website (in English).Then I did find another website that said Minulet was discontinued in the UK in 2007. I think Minulet is a little more difficult to find then Marvelon and I don’t know anyone, first hand, who has taken it, which is why I chose Marvelon.
I guess I should close this post by protecting my ass a little. This is just information I gathered myself for entertainment purposes only. I am not a doctor or giving out medical advice. Please ask your doctor for specific advice regarding birth control before starting a new regimen. And remember, birth control pills do not prevent the spread of STD’s so a condom is always recommended.
Good luck and hope it helps!
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