The Pill Could Soon Be Available Without Prescription
Some types of contraceptive pill could soon be available over the counter for the first time ever, under new proposals from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
Certain types of the pill (specifically progestogen-only) could soon be available without prescription, with the government asking the public for their views on the matter, in a public consultation which closes on 5th March.
The consultation refers to two mini pills: Lovima 75 microgram tablets, and Hana 75 microgram tablets, which both contrain desogestrel, and are currently only available via prescription.
The mini pill is a progestogen-only pill, which is taken every day with no break in between. The pills work to prevent pregnancy by thickening the mucus in the cervix to stop sperm reaching the egg. Meanwhile, desogestrel progestogen-only pills can also stop ovulation.
Allowing the pills to be sold over the counter would make contraception more readily available, but there are question marks over the cost and how they would be given out.
Dr Sarah Branch of the MHRA has said they hope to hear from "as many people and women's groups as possible" meanwhile Michelle Riddalls, chief executive of PAGB, called it a "landmark opportunity".
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"The MHRA consultation represents a landmark opportunity in women's health and one which we hope will be viewed positively," she said.
"As expert healthcare professionals, pharmacists are fully equipped to offer advice to anyone seeking information about over-the-counter medicines."
The plans came after applications from two pharmaceutical companies, Maxwellia and HRA Pharma, to allow their pills to be sold over the counter.
Elsewhere, Clare Murphy, chief executive of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), said the move would improve access to contraception, but emphasised that BPAS want the pills to be affordable and for consultations to be straightforward.
You can find out more and contribute your views on the proposed changes here.
Featured Image Credit: PA
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