Contraceptive mini-pill available over-the-counter without prescription for the first time
9 July 2021, 10:20
Brits will now be able to buy the contraceptive pill over-the-counter for the first time.
Two types of the oral contraceptive pill will now be sold over the counter in the UK without a prescription.
Later this month, the progesterone-only pill (POP), or ‘mini pill’ as it’s also known, will be available from high-street pharmacies.
The specific brands of pill — called Hana and Lovima — will be accessible without the need to visit a GP, but pills with oestrogen will still require a consultation.
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The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) ruled to reclassify the pills after a safety review by the Commission on Human Medicines (CHM) and a public consultation.
Sexual health campaigners have said the move will help with GP surgeries who have become overwhelmed during the pandemic.
Dr June Raine, head of the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, said: “This is good news for women and families.
“We have consulted a wide range of people to enable us to reach the decision to make this contraceptive available for the first time in the UK without prescription.
"We received many responses to our consultation, the majority of which supported this approach.”
The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists has also welcomed the news.
Dr Asha Kasliwal, said: “Progestogen-only contraceptive pills are safe, reliable, easy to use, and are an incredibly popular contraceptive method.
“Availability over the counter in pharmacies will make it easier for women to access essential contraception to avoid unplanned pregnancies during and beyond Covid-19.
“Reclassification may also reduce unnecessary pressures on GPs, who will not need to see patients for repeat prescriptions.”
What is the mini pill?
The traditional progestogen-only pill (POP) is just one type of contraceptive pill and is used by millions of women in the UK.
According to the NHS , it prevents pregnancy by thickening the mucus in the cervix to stop sperm reaching an egg.
It needs to be taken every day to work and if taken correctly, it's more than 99% effective.
The desogestrel progestogen-only pill can also stop ovulation. To find out more about the mini pill, please visit the NHS website.