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Home Industry News Emergency contraceptives should be available without consultation

Emergency contraceptives should be available without consultation

3rd December 2019

Currently, women who want access to emergency contraceptives need to book a consultation with a pharmacist. However the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) believe that OTC emergency contraceptives should be made available without a consultation to prevent women feeling judged or humiliated, as this can result in a reluctance in women to seek out EHC.

RCOG’s ‘Better for women: improving the health and wellbeing of girls and women’ report stated that EHC “should be free for all women attending sexual health clinics and general practices. The reality is that many girls and women in England have to pay up to thirty-five pounds to access EHC, because it is not available free of charge in fifty-percent of services in England. This sum of money is unaffordable for many girls and women, reinforcing the many existing sexual and reproductive healthcare inequalities. EHC has been available over the counter in the UK for almost twenty years with no evidence that it is being misused or overused. Oral EC is available ‘in front of the counter’ in pharmacies in Canada and Scandinavia, where it is recognised that it can safely be used without supervision, and that the ‘behind-the-counter’ framework inhibits access. The UK must follow this example of good practice.”

President of the RPS, Sandra Gidley, stated: “Having a consultation with a pharmacist is focused on helping women who need emergency contraception. There are several methods of emergency contraception available to women and as well as supporting the choice that’s best for her situation, pharmacists can advise on future use of contraception and the risk of sexually transmitted infections. Cost is a barrier to accessing medicines so we fully support NHS schemes that allow women to access emergency contraception free of charge through community pharmacies. These services already exist in Scotland and Wales and it’s unacceptable that women in England still have to pay.”

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