The Lack of Innovation in Female Contraception

Laura Magdalena Locher & Louise-Amelie Hantzche

Student thesis: Master thesis


Objective: The study took departure from the notion of the high rates of unintended pregnancies in Europe despite the availability of safe and effective birth control options. A dual research question was conducted and assessed women’s perceptions with current contraceptives and their influence on innovation as well as insights from the pharmaceutical industry’s hindrances to innovate. Methods: The study applied an explorative mono-method qualitative design by conducting semistructured interviews with two informant groups, end-users of contraception (n=20) as well as industry experts (n=6) within the pharmaceutical drug development. The data was triangulated and analyzed based on grounded theory in the scope of template analysis. Results: The study identified three misfits which hinder innovation within female contraception. (1) The ‘Lack of say’ reflected in the shortcoming of assessing their pain, needs and desires, (2) The ‘Systematic barriers and bias’ within the pharmaceutical industry mirrored through a profit-driven approach, bias and the double standard of protecting women by not including them into pharmaceutical development, (3) The ‘Lack of ownership’ driven by an economic pressure and fragmented health-care system distinguished as a market failure. Conclusion: Female contraceptives lack innovation due to a limited assessment of users' conception of pain. Without accurate and commulated data of perceived pain the “proven” value to ensure reimbursement is not given. The distinguished market failure stresses for a public health imperative within contraception.

EducationsMSc in Business Administration and Innovation in Health Care, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2021
Number of pages128