You Could Soon Purchase The Contraceptive Pill Over The Counter

You Could Soon Purchase The Contraceptive Pill Over The Counter

If successful, Australians would have more freedom to access birth control pills without a doctor’s prescription.

The news comes as the Therapeutic Goods Administration has decided to review whether Australian women should be able to access birth control pills without a doctor’s prescription. If successful, the country’s medicine regulator would grant trained pharmacists in Australia the ability to dispense the oral contraceptive. The only catch would be that patients would have to have taken the Pill before – those who haven’t should seek medical advice first and organise a consultation with their doctor. The aim is simply to eliminate the need for women to visit their doctor purely to renew their prescription. The application aims to “increase patient access, to reduce avoidable treatment interruptions and unplanned pregnancies – which are a significant public health issue,” according to the statement. 

As a result, two applications have been made to seek reclassification of the drugs. One would see patients who have previously been prescribed contraceptives containing the active ingredients norethisterone, levonorgestrel and ethinylestradiol able to access the pills directly through pharmacists, provided they’ve had the prescription within the previous two years.

The second application aims to reclassify 10 other ingredients commonly used in contraceptives so as to allow pharmacists the ability to dispense them. In this instance though, the conditions would be more strict and patients would need to prove they had an initial prescription from a doctor and had been using the products for at least 12 months. 

In the application, health regulators explained: “The requirement for health patients to physically visit their general practitioner for the sole purpose of obtaining a prescription, for an oral contraceptive they have taken safely for at least 12 months, creates unnecessary barriers to care and access to medicines.” 

As it states, “Pharmacists are highly educated and trained health professionals, committed to continuing professional development, with the competency to safely supply oral contraceptives to patients for continuation therapy.”

By Jessica Campbell

Jess is a storyteller committed to sharing the human stories that lie at the heart of sport.

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