Pill without prescription

The Pill to be available over the counter at chemists

A pilot scheme giving chemists the power to issue the Pill over the counter was announced yesterday.

It means that women and girls under 16 would be able to obtain the contraceptive after they are interviewed by a pharmacist. And under-16s would be assessed by a chemist to determine whether they are mentally competent to receive it.

The move would put the Pill on a level with the morning-after-pill, already available without authorisation from a doctor.

Junior health minister, Professor Lord Darzi, who announced the plan yesterday said the Government would be working with primary care trusts over the next year to pilot the scheme.

GP and trustee of the Family Education Trust, Dr Trevor Stammers said the Government was ‘desperate to be seen to be doing something’ about teenage pregnancies but said ‘lack of availability of contraception is not the problem.’

The scheme has also been met with concern from campaigners who believe wider availability of the contraceptive could encourage under-age sex, as under-16s can obtain the Pill without their parents’ knowledge.

However Baroness Finlay of Llandaff – who called for the change – said she believed it could reduce teenage pregnancy and reduce the number of abortions carried out in Britain.

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