Should the pill be available without prescription?

The contraceptive pill should be more available over the counter, says NHS report

Contraceptive Pill (LL)
Contraceptive Pill (LL)
(Image credit: REX)

The contraceptive pill should be more available over the counter, says NHS report

The contraceptive pill should be made more widely available without a prescription from a GP according to a new NHS report.

A pilot study in two London areas with high teenage pregnancy rates found a significant drop in emergency contraception after the launch of over-the-counter pill access.

However, the report by NHS South East London controversially recommends providing the service to girls from the age of 13 in a bid to reduce teenage pregnancies.

If the scheme is to be extended to under 16 year-olds, the service will comply with strict guidelines including whether the girl is able to understand advice and the likelihood that she will have sex regardless of whether she gets contraception.

The study found around 25 per cent of women receiving the pill were under 19, with the majority aged between 20 and 24. 46 per cent of the women had never taken the pill before.

Recipients say they prefer getting the pill over-the-counter, rather than visiting a GP because it is quicker, easier and there is no need for an appointment.

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society says it fully supports the provision of NHS services to young people where there is currently an unmet need.

'We are confident that pharmacists who supply oral contraception to young people will follow exactly the same guidelines as doctors and nurses and ensure the same level of care to ensure contraception is both safe and effective.'

Do you think contraception should be available over-the-counter to young girls? Do you think it would help cut teenage pregnancy or will it only encourage under-age sex?

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