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Chemists to give out pill

10th December 2008

Pharmacists are to be allowed to give women the contraceptive pill without a prescription in a pilot scheme to start next year.

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And if the trial in the London primary care trust areas of Southwark and Lewisham - where woman and girls over 16 will be able to get the pill from pharmacies - is a success, it could be rolled out.

This would see the pill being available over the counter in the same way as the morning after pill.

The pharmacists will offer the pill under a patient group direction arrangement with a doctor authorising other health professionals to supply a product to a certain group of patients.

The aim is to help reduce rates of teenage pregnancy in Britain which are currently the highest in western Europe.

A Department of Health spokeswoman said: "We want to improve women's access to contraception and help reduce the number of unintended pregnancies without undermining patient safety.

"Pilots like these will help to show whether supplying contraception through pharmacies is effective in reducing unintended pregnancies."

The DH has invested an additional £26.8m in the project and will work with strategic health authorities to assess its success.

The Family Planning Association welcomed the move saying women want to get their contraception from a health professional, at a time and a place that's convenient to them.

However, the Family Education Trust said the initiative showed the government was "more interested in getting young people to use contraception" than in discouraging them from engaging in sexual activity.

 

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