IPU

Emergency Contraception Available from Pharmacists for Medical Card Holders from Tomorrow (1 July)

Pharmacists welcome development given time-sensitive nature of emergency contraception

30 June 2017: From tomorrow (1 July), medical card holders will be able to get emergency contraception directly from their local community pharmacist. This follows the signing of the statutory instrument changing access to emergency hormonal contraception (EHC) for medical card holders by the Minister for Health on 23 June.

Speaking today, IPU President and community pharmacist Daragh Connolly said, “We are delighted that, after many years of lobbying on this issue, women with medical cards who, up to now, had to go to their GP to get a prescription if they wished to get emergency hormonal contraception (EHC) on their medical card will, from today, be able to access it directly from their community pharmacy free of charge.

“Emergency contraception is time-sensitive. Its effectiveness diminishes between the time of unprotected sex and the time of taking it, making it crucial that all women are able to access it readily when necessary. The convenience and accessibility offered by community pharmacies is therefore hugely valuable. The necessity to attend a GP for a prescription has always been an unnecessary barrier and has meant that the poorest women, often those who could least afford an unwanted pregnancy, have not been treated equitably with private patients in terms of access to EHC.”

Pharmacists are fully qualified to offer advice to medical card holders on emergency contraception, as they have been safely providing emergency contraception without prescription to private patients since 2011.

Ends.

For further information:  Jim Curran, Director of Communications & Strategy, tel: 086 2640 469