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'Five-day-after' pill to be sold at chemists

19th October 2012

Pharmacies are set to sell a contraceptive pill which can prevent unwanted pregnancies up to five days after sex.

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It will be the first time the “five-day-after-pill” has been made available at the local chemist without a prescription, with women seeing a pharmacist rather than having a GP consultation.

The Co-Operative Pharmacy chain, which will sell the pill for £30, said it was taking the step to offer women greater choice.

However, critics fear it will encourage a more casual attitude to sex and see a rise in sexually transmitted diseases.

The pill called ellaOne is more effective than the commonly-used morning-after pill Levonelle.

It is thought to work by preventing ovulation and fertilisation and by making the lining of the womb less receptive to a fertilised egg.

The pharmacy chain’s clinical service pharmacist Jane Devenish said: “We believe that this service will be an important step to offer women access to a wider choice of emergency contraception in a community pharmacy to enable them to make an informed decision.”

Initially, the Co-operative Pharmacy plans to trial the project in 40 branches in Essex, London and Bristol and if the pilot proves a success, it will roll it out across its 760 branches.

The product will only be available to people over the age of 18 and women asking for the emergency contraception will be offered a private consultation with a pharmacist.

The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children said it objected to ellaOne because it works on some occasions by terminating the life of the early embryo.

 

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