Last updated: April 12, 2016
FINDING BIRTH CONTROL IN CHINA: You can find a birth control pill, “Mercilon,” at most drug stores in China. I bought it at a pharmacy in Beijing. It is sold without a prescription. And it cost 68 RMB/month.
FINDING EMERGENCY CONTRACEPTION IN CHINA: If you need emergency contraception, you can also find it over-the-counter at most drug stores in China. I do not have any personal experience with this pill. If you have a condom break or have had unprotected sex, emergency contraception can help prevent pregnancy. You need to take it as soon as possible in order for it to be effective. It is not RU-486 (the abortion pill) and it will not work if you are already pregnant. It should not be used as a substitute for regular birth control.
HOW TO ASK FOR BIRTH CONTROL AT YOUR PHARMACY:
- 避孕药 (bi4 yun4 yao4) = Oral contraceptives. The same term is used for “the pill” which you take daily, as well as the emergency contraception. If you ask for this, they will likely ask you if you want a daily pill or one for the next day.
- 吗富隆 (ma3 fu4 long2) = Marvelon. The brand name of one kind of birth control pill available over-the-counter at most pharmacies in China. Also available in Canada. (NOTE: This seems to be harder to find in Beijing as of April 2016.)
- 美意避(Měiyìbì) = Mercilon. This is a combination pill like Marvelon. They both contain ethinylestradiol and desogestrel but Marvelon has 30 micrograms and Mercilon has 20 micrograms. Also available in the UK.
- 敏定偶 (min3 ding4 ou3) = Minulet The brand name of another kind of birth control pill available over-the-counter at most pharmacies in China.
- 优思明 (Yōu sī míng) = Yasmin. This is the most expensive pill at over 130 rmb per month. Whoah! But a brand found in the US and UK.
If you haven’t used a birth control pill in the past, please make sure you follow the directions carefully. Remember, it isn’t instantly effective — you MUST use a back-up method (condoms and spermicide) for the first 28 days. And if you miss pills you will need to use a back-up method depending on where you are in your cycle. Please, please, please be careful. If you are considering using Marvelon and you are new to the Pill please read this document about oral contraceptives (PDF).
For more information on Marvelon (including information about what to do if you miss a pill), you can go to Marvelon’s Canadian website and you’ll need to enter 898599 as the DIN to enter the website.
If you have questions or if there’s other information you think I should include here, email me: elizabeth [ a t ] elizabethinchina [ d o t ] com