The Tablet shall be available for purchase WITHOUT prescription for first time ever underneath new plans
Women will be able to buy birth control pills from the pharmacy if there are radical plans to improve access.
Previously, it was only available on prescription after medical advice.
Women can get the pill over the counter for the first timeCredit: Alamy
But now the UK drug watchdog is trying to make two forms of the pill available over the counter for the first time.
For the first time, pharmacists would distribute the family planning drugs to women without medical advice.
In the UK, around 3.5 million women use oral contraceptives.
Just over half take a combination of two hormones – estrogen and progesterone – that trick the body into thinking it is pregnant and prevent the ovaries from releasing eggs.
While the rest are just taking progesterone pills.
Research shows that a third of UK women have difficulty accessing contraception, with 45 percent of pregnancies being unplanned.
Now the drug and health products regulator has launched a consultation to allow the pill to be sold over the counter.
It affects two products that contain desogestrel – a synthetic form of the female sex hormone progesterone – Lovima 75 and Hana 75 tablets.
Officials confirmed that if approved, it would be the first time an oral contraceptive drug would be available in pharmacies without a prescription.
Dr. Sarah Branch, director of drug vigilance and risk management at MHRA, said, “Any response we receive will help us get a better picture of whether people think the desogestrel contraceptive pill should be available over the counter.”
Dr. Asha Kasliwal, President of the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Health Care, welcomed the plans last night.
She said, “We fully support the reclassification of progestogen pills as a pharmacy drug, which we have been recommending for many years.
“Progestin-only birth control pills are safe, reliable, easy to use, and an incredibly popular method of contraception.
“The over-the-counter availability in pharmacies makes it easier for women to access important contraceptives in order to avoid unplanned pregnancies during and after Covid-19.
“The fragmented system of sexual and reproductive health care is notoriously difficult for women to navigate, and successive cuts in public health budgets have made it difficult for women to get the birth control they need.
“Reclassification can also reduce unnecessary pressure on GPs who do not have to visit patients for repeat prescriptions.”
Switching products from prescription-only to over-the-counter products once their safety and effectiveness have been rigorously assessed and established is a positive step.
Michelle Riddalls, CEO of PAGB
The consultation was triggered after British pharmaceutical company Maxwellia requested the pill to be reclassified.
CEO Anna Maxwell, a registered pharmacist, said: “We welcome the public consultation on the reclassification of Lovima as a pharmacy medicine and recognize it as an important and positive step for both women and health professionals.
If approved, women will have more choices about how to access this form of contraception, either by purchasing it from their local pharmacy or by scheduling an appointment with their GP or sex clinic for a free prescription.
“We see expanding access in this way as an important option for people to make their own decisions about their health care.”
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Michelle Riddalls, CEO of PAGB, the Consumer Healthcare Association, said, “We fully support these reclassification applications.
“Switching products from prescription to over-the-counter products is a positive move once their safety and effectiveness have been rigorously assessed and determined.
“It allows people to care for themselves when necessary, minimize the inconvenience to individuals, and protect NHS resources such as general practitioner appointments for those who need them most.”