The development has been welcomed by the Irish Family Planning Association (IFPA), which has been calling for the emergency contraceptive pill to be available over-the-counter in pharmacies for years.
The IFPA has claimed that unnecessary delays in accessing emergency hormonal contraception were increasing the risk of unplanned pregnancies.
The service allows a medical director to instruct non-doctors on providing the drug to a customer.
The provision of emergency contraception has been licensed for use in Ireland since late 2001 but, until now, those who sought the service needed a doctor’s prescription.
The contraception will be provided after consultation with the pharmacist in the pharmacy’s private consultation room.
The Boots emergency contraceptive service which comprises a one-to-one consultation with a pharmacist, provision of the medicine, and advice on long-term contraception and sexual health, including sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), costs €45.
Boots Ireland chief pharmacist Mary Rose Burke said a woman seeking a consultation would be asked if she was over 18 years and if the medication was for personal use, but proof of identity would not be required.
“A woman would not be asked for proof of identity if she went to a family planning clinic or GP.”
The Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU) said it was working hard to ensure that pharmacists generally were able to provide a wider range of services, including emergency contraception.