Contraceptive pills could be available over counter after public consultation

Caitlin Doherty, PA
·2-min read

Two types of contraceptive pill could be sold over the counter for the first time following public consultation, the Government has announced.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is looking for views on the potential reclassification of two progestogen-only contraceptive pills.

Both medicines – Lovima 75 microgram film-coated tablets and Hana 75 microgram film-coated tablets – contain desogestrel.

If they are reclassified, it will be the first time daily contraceptive pills are available over the counter at a pharmacy.

The consultations are open until March 5 and contraceptive pills containing desogestrel will continue to be available from GPs and at sexual health clinics.

Dr Sarah Branch, director of vigilance and risk management of medicines at the MHRA, said: “Every response received will help us gain a better picture of whether people think the contraceptive pill with desogestrel should be available over the counter.

“We hope to hear from as many people and women’s groups as possible.”

The proposals have been labelled a “positive step” by a consumer health care association.

Michelle Riddalls, chief executive of PAGB, the consumer healthcare association, said the body “fully support these reclassification applications”.

She added: “The MHRA consultation represents a landmark opportunity in women’s health and one which we hope will be viewed positively.

“Both Maxwellia and HRA Pharma have asked the MHRA to permit the sale of their progestogen-only pill products under the supervision of a qualified pharmacist.

“As expert healthcare professionals, pharmacists are fully equipped to offer advice to anyone seeking information about over-the-counter medicines.”

It hailed the applications’ “particular significance as they are the first to seek over-the-counter licences for any form of daily contraceptive pill, 60 years after the pill in its original form was made available via prescription on the NHS for married women only”.