Over-the-counter oral contraceptive a win for patients

Media Release

Date: 22 October 2018

Over-the-counter oral contraceptive a win for patients

The Victorian Branch of the Pharmacy Guild welcomes the announcement by the Victorian Shadow Minister for Health, Mary Wooldridge that an elected Coalition government will improve access of the oral contraceptive pill to make it available from a pharmacist without the need for a prescription.

After the initial provision of a prescription from a doctor, under the Victorian Coalition plan – Victorian women would have the choice to be able to access the oral contraceptive from a community pharmacy under a pharmacist-dispensed non-prescription model.

This initiative follows similar moves in comparable Western countries such as New Zealand, in parts of the United States and the United Kingdom where additionally trained pharmacists undertake specific patient screening to provide over-the-counter access to oral contraceptives.  International evidence has shown patients to be very satisfied with these initiatives.

Community pharmacies are highly accessible and frequently visited health destinations and it makes sense to have medicine experts and health professionals such as pharmacists utilise their full scope of practice.

Victorian Branch President, Anthony Tassone welcomes the move:

“For some years now, Australian community pharmacists have been safely providing emergency contraception (the morning after pill) for women under professional practice guidelines and standards.  Being able to provide oral contraceptives under a pharmacist dispensed non-prescription model would ensure women have more choice and improved access to ongoing supply, greater adherence and a lower chance of unplanned pregnancy.

The Guild stands ready to collaborate with other stakeholders and health professionals to help guide the implementation of this initiative that is a win for women and for the broader health system.”

Existing provisions allow the continued supply of some PBS listed oral contraceptives from community pharmacies without a prescription but there are limitations to the quantity that can be supplied and how often this type of supply can be made.

The Victorian Coalition plan provides a safe and accessible alternative for women to safely and appropriately access oral contraception from their medicine expert, a pharmacist after the initial prescribing by their general practitioner.

Media enquiries: Rohini Tanwar (03) 9810 9999

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Page last updated 22 October 2018