Pharmacists call for morning-after pill

PHARMACISTS are calling for the morning-after pill to be made available over-the-counter as it is in Britain Research published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology shows the potential for a 10% reduction in teenage pregnancies with the introduction of legislation liberalising emergency contraception availability.

However, a recent Irish study has shown that while two-thirds of patients support pharmacists prescribing the drug, two-thirds of GPs are opposed to the idea.

President of the Irish Pharmaceutical Union (IPU) Michael Guckian told the Irish Medical Times that with strict protocols, ensuring only trained pharmacists could prescribe the drug, wider availability of the pill would be beneficial.

“I think having the morning after pill available over the country would work very well over here. Obviously there are still moral issues surrounding it, and it would be at the discretion of the individual pharmacist, but we do see people come looking for it on a Saturday morning or evening, not able to contact a GP,” he said. “We’re not talking about just freely handing it out.”

Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP) chairman, Dr Eamonn Shanahan took issue with pharmacists suggesting that doctors aren’t available at weekends.

“GP co-ops are in place across most of the country and even with co-ops, I still gave the morning-after pill to six women last weekend alone. However, pharmacist prescription could work,” he said.

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