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Pharmacies to issue the pill

13th December 2007

Pharmacists are to be allowed to give out the contraceptive pill without prescription under a new pilot scheme.

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At present the pill is currently only available with a prescription although pharmacies are able to dispense the morning after pill without a doctor’s signature.

Lord Darzi, the minister in charge of reviewing health care, has announced the move and said that the government would work with chemists to ensure high standards were maintained and there would be appropriate training.

Lady Finlay, who is the president of the Royal Society of Medicine, has been urging the government to make the change and she said she was delighted by the news.

“We have this catastrophic tidal wave of teenage and unwanted pregnancies, we are the worst in Europe, we cannot ignore that,? she added.

Lady Finlay felt chemists were fully capable of ensuring whether the contraceptive pill was right for a patient, and what type would suit her best.

Teenage birth rates in the UK are the highest in Western Europe and are twice as high as in Germany, three times as high as in France and six times as high as in the Netherlands.

Anne Weyman, the head of the Family Planning Association (FPA), welcomed the initiative but said: “It’s absolutely essential however, that this initiative is part of a comprehensive and holistic approach to broaden women’s access to all 14 methods of contraception and not just the pill. Otherwise women will find their contraceptive choices greatly diminished, rather than greatly enhanced.?

 

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