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Morning-after pill free in Wales

1st April 2011

Emergency contraception will now be available free of charge from pharmacies across Wales.

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However, elsewhere in the UK, it will still cost about £25.

Community pharmacists in Wales – which has some of the highest teenage pregnancy rates in the UK - can also give the morning-after pill to under-16s, if it is felt that it is clinically appropriate.

The morning-after pill is free to women across the UK if it is prescribed by a GP or family planning clinic, but Wales is the first nation to offer emergency contraception without charge on the high street.

Health minister Edwina Hart announced the move – which will affect 700 pharmacies - last November to make professional advice available without appointment.

Under the move, pharmacists will be allowed to dispense the pill to girls under 16 if it is clinically appropriate and that the girl understands what she is asking for.

However, Josephine Quintavalle, founder of Comment on Reproductive Ethics (Core), said it would encourage irresponsible attitudes to sex and the move was “the wrong way to address the problems of high rates of teenage pregnancy in Wales.”

Dr Marina Arulanandam, of the Llandaff Surgery in Cardiff, said GPs and family planning clinics had a vital role to play in educating women about a whole range of issues like sexual health.

Meanwhile, Ian Cowan, chairman of Community Pharmacy Wales, said that the service as it already exists made a “massive difference to women's lives” and was “immensely reassuring to the women who need it.”

 

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Article Information

Title: Morning-after pill free in Wales
Author: Mark Nicholls
Article Id: 18076
Date Added: 1st Apr 2011

Sources

BBC News

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