You Can Now Buy The Morning After Pill For Just £3 Online
A morning after pill costing just £3 is available to UK women for the first time.
Available online from Dr Fox's Pharmacy for less than a fiver, the Levonelle pill represents a major breakthrough in the emergency contraception market.
Typically, the morning after pill is not just expensive - ranging from £13 to £35 - it requires a lengthy (and often humiliating) consultation with a medical professional.
But Levonelle is designed to be pre-ordered and kept "as a standby for use at short notice", saving you a trip to the pharmacy.
The pill has a shelf life of two years, compared to its more expensive equivalent, Ulipristal Acetate, which has a three-year shelf life.
It is most effective within 12 hours after intercourse; while it can be used up to 72 hours, its effectiveness will decrease over time.
Now, following the launch of the £3 pill, the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (Bpas) has now criticised pharmacies for "throwing financial obstacles in the way" of women's access to safe contraception - leading to unwanted pregnancies and, in some cases, abortions.
Levonorgestrel, the drug used in the pills, is typically rebranded, repackaged and sold at an inflated price (usually between £13 and £26).
Clare Murphy, Director of External Affairs at Bpas, commented: "The sale of the morning after pill for £3 illustrates just how cheap this medication is, but women are still having to pay vastly over the odds for this pill at their time of need."
Tyla spoke to sexual health specialist Dr Deborah Lee who applauded the accessible price. She said: "By lowering the price to just £3 Dr Fox is taking a sensitive and caring approach, encouraging women to think ahead."
The side effects are similar across the board too and while unpleasant, typically have no long term effects and range from nausea to headaches, abdominal pain and dizziness.
Dr Fox also sells another morning after pill, made from Ulipristal Acetate, which works up to 120 hours after sex, which he sells at £23.50, whilst other pharmacies stock it for around £35.
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The benefit of this pricier pill is that it can work up to 120 hours after having sex - so the window is greater.
Because of this pricier pill, the ability to buy the cheaper emergency pill made from Levonorgestrel in advance is clearly extremely beneficial to people's purse strings. No-one will be forced to splash out £35 they cannot afford for the sake of their wellbeing.
And Dr Lee comments that "it's very sad if the cost of the emergency contraception is ever a reason for a woman not to take it."
She also stressed the point that being able to buy the emergency pill in advance of an emergency makes so much sense, to help women avoid "the misery of an unplanned pregnancy."
Currently, according to Bpas, only a third of women use emergency contraception after unprotected sex, which might be also due to the lengthy consultation process.
Which is why the Bpas is now campaigning for progestogen-based emergency contraception to be reclassified as a General Sales List medication - meaning you can buy it directly off the shelf.
The Bpas commented that "while emergency contraception is not a silver bullet to unwanted pregnancy, it is a significantly under-utilised resource."
It is also best to do this with this type of pill, because "it works best the sooner it is taken after unprotected sex.
"That's why having a standby supply makes absolute sense," adds Dr Lee.
So while it does have an expiry like every other medicine, for £3, it's worth having in the cupboard for emergency situations - something the Bpas is now recommending to women.
Clare Murphy added: "The progestogen pill is extremely safe, can be used as often as needed, and gives women a second chance of avoiding an unwanted pregnancy that may risk their physical and mental health.
"There is simply no reason why we should restrict access in the way we do when the stakes for women are so high - women know when they need it and should be trusted to use it."
About time too!
Featured Image Credit: Pexels
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