What's Good and Bad About Contraceptive Products?: A Best-Worst Attribute Experiment Comparing the Values of Women Consumers and GPs

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Abstract

Background

In the past decade, the range of contraceptives available has increased dramatically. There are limited data on the factors that determine women's choices on contraceptive alternatives or what factors providers consider most important when recommending contraceptive products to women.

Objectives

Our objectives were to compare women's (consumers') preferences and GPs' (providers') views in relation to existing and new contraceptive methods, and particularly to examine what factors increase the acceptability of different contraceptive products.

Methods

A best-worst attribute stated-choice experiment was completed online. Participants (Australian women of reproductive age and Australian GPs) completed questions on 16 contraceptive profiles. 200 women of reproductive age were recruited through a commercial panel. GPs from all states of Australia were randomly sampled and approached by phone; 162 GPs agreed to participate. Participants chose the best and worst attribute levels of hypothetical but realistic prescribed contraceptive products. Best and worst choices were modelled using multinomial logit and product features were ranked from best to worst according to the size of model coefficients.

Results

The most attractive feature of the contraceptive products for both GPs and women consumers were an administration frequency of longer than 1 year and light or no bleeding. Women indicated that the hormonal vaginal ring was the least attractive mode of administration.

Conclusions

Women and GPs agree that longer-acting methods with less bleeding are important features in preferred methods of contraception; however, women are also attracted to products involving less invasive modes of administration. While the vaginal ring may fill the niche in Australia for a relatively non-invasive, moderately long-acting and effective contraceptive, the results of this study indicate that GPs will need to promote the benefits of the vaginal ring to overcome negative perceptions about this method among women who may benefit from using it.

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