The Royal Pharmaceutical Society today welcomed the move by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to allow progestogen-only contraceptive pills to be provided in pharmacies for the first time without the need for a prescription.
The pills have been reclassified to a Pharmacy medicine, meaning they will be available for sale from behind the pharmacy counter.
RPS Director of Pharmacy Robbie Turner said: “The Royal Pharmaceutical Society welcomes the MHRA’s decision to enable progestogen-only contraceptive pills to be made available directly to women by pharmacists without a prescription.
“This move will increase access to a safe and effective method of contraception and enable women to make an informed choice about their needs after discussion with a pharmacist. Pharmacists are a convenient, expert source of help and advice and already play an important role in the provision of contraception.
“Whilst this reclassification is a positive move, there will be an affordability issue for some women. Ultimately we’d like to see contraception provided for free through NHS community pharmacy services across GB so that many more people can benefit from another point of access to contraception and advice. We are encouraged that a Patient Group Direction is currently being developed in Scotland and free to access prescribing clinics are available in Wales which will enable women to access desogestrel for free from community pharmacies.”
Stock of the progestogen-only pill will arrive in pharmacies shortly. RPS has produced guidance for pharmacists on providing the reclassified product.