Contraceptive pill could soon be sold over the counter
Contraceptive pill could soon be sold over the counter without a prescription in ‘landmark opportunity for women’s health’
- Contraceptive Pill could soon been sold over the counter without prescription
- Would allow over-the-counter sale under supervision of a qualified pharmacist
- Drugs company Maxwellia is looking to make its Lovima prescription-free
The contraceptive Pill could soon be sold over the counter without a prescription.
A move to make two brands available without written authorisation is under consultation, the Medicine and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency announced yesterday.
The drugs companies involved have applied for their progestogen-only contraceptive Pill to be reclassified from prescription to pharmacy products.
The contraceptive Pill could soon be sold over the counter without a prescription, in a first of its kind move. Picture: Stock
The move, which is the first of its kind, would allow over-the-counter sale under the supervision of a qualified pharmacist.
Drugs company Maxwellia is looking to make its Lovima contraceptive prescription-free and HRA Pharma wants the same for its Hana brand.
It has been welcomed by consumer healthcare association PAGB, which described the move as a ‘landmark opportunity in women’s health’.
Chief executive Michelle Riddalls said: ‘We fully support these reclassification applications. witching products from prescription-only to make them available over the counter, once their safety and efficacy has been rigorously assessed and established, is a positive step.
‘It enables people to self-care where appropriate, minimising inconvenience for individuals and protecting NHS resources such as GP appointments for those who need them most.’
She added: ‘The applications by Maxwellia and HRA Pharma have particular significance as they are the first to seek over-the-counter licences for any form of daily contraceptive Pill, 60 years after the Pill in its original form was made available via prescription on the NHS for married women only.
‘The MHRA consultation represents a landmark opportunity in women’s health and one which we hope will be viewed positively.’
Drugs company Maxwellia is looking to make its Lovima contraceptive prescription-free and HRA Pharma wants the same for its Hana brand. Picture: Stock
A qualified pharmacist would oversee any sale and use a checklist to identify women who can be safely supplied with the medicine.
Both brands would be available for women of child-bearing age, which would also include adolescents who meet the criteria for supply.
The MHRA said that for under 18s, and especially those under 16, who wanted the Pill it remained ‘essential to establish that the girl is not being exploited or abused’.
Almost nine in ten women in England – around 3.1million – who are on contraception take the Pill, figures from 2018 show.
The ‘traditional’ progestogen-only Pill prevents pregnancy by thickening the mucus in the cervix to stop sperm reaching an egg. It needs to be taken reliably every day and is 99 per cent effective if taken correctly.
The Lovima and Hana Pills also contain desogestrel, which can help to stop ovulation.
The MHRA is asking for the public’s views on whether the products should become a pharmacy medicine. Dr Sarah Branch, of the MHRA, said: ‘Every response received will help us gain a better picture of whether people think the contraceptive Pill with desogestrel should be available over the counter.
‘We hope to hear from as many people and women’s groups as possible.’ If the move goes ahead, the Pills will still be available on prescription from GPs and sexual health clinics.
The consultations are open until March 5.
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