New webinar asks: what influence do young people have on trials and development of contraceptive methods?

3rd April 2017

Young people are not generally sidelined or excluded from clinical trials of existing contraceptive methods The University of Chicago’s Professor Melissa Gilliam explained to 40 webinar participants recently. But crucially, neither do their unique needs inform the development of new contraceptives, she revealed. The webinar, Safety for Contraceptives for Young People, was organized by the Coalition’s Youth Discussion Group. It addressed timely questions: How do we know if RH products are safe for young people? How are young people, especially minors, included in clinical and behavioural trials of contraceptives? How do issues of consent and ethics impact product development?

Clarissa Lord Brundage from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation reminded participants that out of the unmet need faced by 120M women, 70 per cent arose from method-related reasons; the design of new products had to address user barriers and take young people’s needs into account. Coalition Chair John Townsend from the Population Council stressed the importance of ethics; parents’ consent, for example, should not oblige young people to take part in clinical trials, he reminded participants.

Professor Gilliam spoke of a growing trend to figure young people’s needs into contraceptive development; the US National Institutes of Health have begun to request that research be conducted around young people’s SRH needs to inform new contraceptive development. Young people also require a different counselling approach, she explained. Brain cognitive development is different for young people and younger adolescents lack the ability to understand abstract concepts. Unfortunately, there is little research at the moment on the best way to counsel young people, she added.

For more information, please contact webinar moderator Emilie Peeters on


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