Female Condoms Soar In Sales

By: Jennifer Hong - Staff Writer
Published: Mar 5, 2021

Female Condoms. Female contraception is gaining more popularity with the condom because of its comfort. They were once seen as an afterthought for birth control because of its cost, but a recent study shows a comeback.

On Valentine’s Day, San Francisco’s health department passed out free FC2s — short for second-generation female condom, the only female condom available in the U.S. That week, Walgreen’s stocked about 10 percent of its 7,600 stores with 3-packs. In all, the number of FC2s distributed nationwide has tripled in the past year, says Mary Ann Leeper, founder of its maker, the Female Health Co.

“There are no seams, so it’s more comfortable to wear,” says Jessica Terlikowski, policy manager at the AIDS Foundation of Chicago. The FC2 condom 3-pack typically sells for $6 or $7.

And in Washington, where all 55 CVS stores carry it, 25,000 people used it in the past year, says Mary Ann Leeper, founder of its maker, the Female Health Co. In fact, she says, the number of FC2s distributed in the USA tripled in the past year. It’s the only female condom on the U.S. market, but it’s sold in more than 100 other countries and even has a Facebook fan page.

Health departments in Chicago, New York City and New York state also have joined with non-profit groups to distribute the female condom not only to women but also to gay men, even though evidence about its safety and effectiveness is lacking.

The Food and Drug Administration approved the first female condom in 1993. Hundreds of Walgreens stocked it, but it was hard to find elsewhere and it cost more than male condoms. But it was an effective, woman-controlled method to prevent pregnancy and the spread of sexually transmitted infections. The FDA approved the FC2 in March 2009.


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