Should under-16s be allowed to buy morning after pill online?

There has been an outcry at a new website launched by Britain's biggest chemist that could soon sell the morning after pill to teenagers. A necessary move; or plain irresponsible? Have your say...

Boots, Britain’s biggest selling chemist, has caused a stir after launching a website that could soon sell the morning after pill.

The new service enables customers to purchase certain treatments online without a prescription.

There are fears that the site could later be expanded to sell the emergency contraceptive pill to under-16s without having to physically answer questions posed by a doctor or pharmacist.

A specialist at the chemist has said that he hopes this new facility will go on to include most other drugs available in-store, including the morning after pill.

Among arguments against the move is a fear that the site will encourage promiscuity among teenage girls, who may want to keep a supply of the pills in order to protect themselves against pregnancy.

The danger, however, is that they risk adding to the epidemic of sexually transmitted diseases.

According to the Health Protection Agency, there are almost 400,000 new cases of sexually transmitted infections a year.

Dr Trevor Stammers, a GP from South London who specializes in healthcare ethics, says: ‘This will encourage people to be irresponsible.

‘The morning after pill is also fuelling an epidemic of sexually transmitted diseases as people just think they can have unprotected sex.

‘The fact that it will be available over the internet is a further trend of our increasingly sexualize society.’

A spokesman for Boots said: ‘There are no specific plans to extend the service at this time, and no current plans for Boots UK to sell the morning after pill online.’

Do the critics have a point? If such a service were to go ahead, would there be more dangerous repercussions than benefits? Or is there a strong argument for offering this service online, even if it is a vision of the future?

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