Two types of contraceptive pill will be available over the counter for the first time

The change has been hailed as a “historic milestone” for women.

Previously the pills had to be obtained via a GP appointment.
Previously the pills had to be obtained via a GP appointment.

Women in the UK will soon be able to access two kinds of contraceptive pills in pharmacies without a prescription for the first time.

The change means that women will be able to access certain contraceptive pills over the counter after consultation with a pharmacist rather than via a GP appointment.

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At a glance: 5 key points

- The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) announced on Thursday that it has reclassified Lovima and Hana, two 75 microgram progesterone-only contraceptives.

- The reclassification means women will not need to make appointments with their GP to access the contraception

-Pills will continue to be available via GPs and via sexual health clinics.

-This is the first time that any form of daily contraceptive pill has been licensed for over-the-counter sale in the UK, 60 years after the pill was originally offered by the NHS

-The MHRA’s decision to reclassify the products also follows a safety review by the Commission on Human Medicines (CHM).

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What’s been said

Dr Edward Morris, president of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), described the move as a “huge win for women and girls”.

He said: “We are delighted that all those who need the progestogen-only oral contraceptive pill (POP) can now go into their local pharmacy and access it without needing a prescription.

“This announcement is a huge win for women and girls who will no longer face unnecessary barriers when accessing this type of contraception.”

Background

Healthcare professionals have welcomed the decision, calling it a “historic milestone” for women.

Previously, the pill has only been available to women via a GP when first beginning to take it.

The decision comes after a host of changes to sexual health access during the pandemic, including the licensing of at-home abortions.