UK medicines watchdog the MHRA has announced that progesterone-only contraceptive pills are to be available from pharmacies without a prescription for the first time.
Earlier today (July 8), the MHRA said that progesterone-only pills containing desogestrel “will soon be available to buy in pharmacies after a consultation with a pharmacist,” although they will still be available free of charge from doctors and sexual health clinics.
Lovima 75mcg film-coated tablets and Hana 75mcg tablets are the two products that were today reclassified folllowing a three-week consultation earlier this year. Lovima is manufactured by POM to P specialist Maxwellia, which claims to have “spearheaded” the switch, while Hana is manufactured by HRA Pharma.
MHRA chief executive Dr June Raine said the move was “good news for women and families”.
“Pharmacists have the expertise to advise women on whether desogestrel is an appropriate and safe oral contraceptive pill for them to use and to give women the information they need to make informed choices”.
Clare Murphy, Deputy Chief Executive at the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, said: “We warmly welcome the reclassification of the progestogen-only pill so it can be sold directly to women without a prescription. This should improve access to an extremely effective method of contraception and give women another option if they cannot get to their GP, or prefer to use a walk-in service at their local pharmacy.”
Robbie Turner, Royal Pharmaceutical Society director of pharmacy said: “Community pharmacies are conveniently located and pharmacists can provide expert, confidential advice on all aspects of contraception, helping women to make an informed choice about their needs.”
Maxwellia CEO Anna Maxwell said the MHRA’s decision was “game-changing for many women,” adding: “It is clear that the limited and restricted way women can currently access contraception isn't working for many of them.”
HRA Pharma’s Frederique Welgryn commented: “We firmly believe that regular contraception should be widely and easily accessible to women, allowing them to make contraceptive decisions on their own terms."