Now oral contraceptive pills to be available online

Saheli, claimed to be the world’s first non-steroidal oral contraceptive pill (OCP) and India’s safest bet for reversible contraception, will now only be a click away.

On International Women’s Day, public sector undertaking HLL Lifecare Ltd launched the popular OCP across the leading e-commerce portals so that women can have easier access to it. “It marks the freedom of women. They can make the rightful choice to safe and reversible contraception in the easiest way, from the comfort of their homes or workplaces,” said HLL chairman and managing director Dr. M. Ayyappan.

By this move, Saheli will now be available in leading shopping portals like Indiatimes, Homeshop18, Healthshoppe, Indiaplaza, Ebay, Healthkart, Healthgenie and Cilory, to name a few, he added.

The pill, originally developed by Central Drugs Research Institute (CDRI) as India’s first indigenous molecule (Centchroman), was commercialised by HLL in 1991. It is the only non–steroidal pill with no side-effects as ormeloxifene is the active ingredient. It is regarded as the most convenient and safest mode of contraception with a dose of one pill a week. The brand has an all-India market share of 6 per cent and has been growing at the rate of 10.4 per cent, a company spokesperson claimed.

“Saheli celebrates the freedom of women who can choose to space their pregnancies and thereby ensure the best for their children. It also saves women from the agony of unsafe abortions,” Dr. Ayyappan said.

The major markets of Saheli are Haryana (with a market share of 36 per cent), Uttar Pradesh (23 per cent), Punjab (27.6 per cent), Delhi (19.4 per cent), and Rajasthan (16.9 per cent). In these States, it is the second largest brand in terms of volume after Mala-D.

HLL will be targeting the large number of women using the Internet as its customers. According to the latest figures, 40 per cent of the total 112 million Internet users are working and non-working women above 25 years.

Contraceptive use in India is still low with just about 57 per cent accessing some kind of contraceptive method. This includes a huge unmet demand also, particularly in the rural and far-off areas. While sterilisation is the most preferred method of contraception among women, men use condoms but the percentage is less. The other methods now being promoted are IUDs and oral pills. Injectible contraceptives did not take off in India because of strong opposition from women’s groups for its serious side-effects on health.

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