Statement by the Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU)

Pharmacists Welcome Go-Ahead from Minister to Allow Direct Access to Emergency Contraception for Medical Card Holders

23 June 2017: The Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU) has welcomed the announcement by Minister for Health Simon Harris that, as of 1 July, emergency hormonal contraception (EHC) will be available to women with medical cards directly from their community pharmacy. The announcement was confirmed as the Minister signed the statutory instrument changing access to emergency hormonal contraception (EHC) for medical card holders.

In response to the announcement, IPU President Daragh Connolly said, “We are delighted that at last after many years of lobbying on this key concern, women on 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 the medical card, will 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, emphasising both the importance of all women being able to readily access it, and thus the value of the convenience and accessibility offered by community pharmacies. The necessity to attend a GP for a prescription has always been an unnecessary barrier and has also meant that the poorest and most vulnerable women in Irish society have not been treated equitably with private patients in terms of access to EHC.”

Pharmacists are looking forward to quickly implementing this move, as they have been safely dispensing emergency contraception without prescription to private patients since 2011.


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