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Pharmacies can play a valuable role in enabling better access to contraception – Madigan

23rd October 2022 - Fine Gael Press Office

Facilitating easier access to contraception for women from pharmacies is an important next step and follows international best practice in the UK, USA, Canada, and New Zealand, Fine Gael Minister Josepha Madigan has said.

The Dublin Rathdown TD said that improving access to contraception is the natural next step now that we have a commitment from Government to reduce the cost barrier.

Minister Madigan said “Facilitating convenient access to oral contraception, over the counter and directly from community pharmacies after having a professional consultation with a pharmacist would improve access and uptake among women.

“The Irish Pharmacy Union has stated that by improving access to regular birth control, more women will use it, which should result in reduced rates of unintended pregnancy and abortion.”

The Report of the Working Group on Access to Contraception 2019 study states ‘that barriers to accessing contraception do exist for some people, with the most prevalent obstacles identified as lack of local access, cost, embarrassment, inconvenience and lack of knowledge.

Minister Madigan continued, “Our community pharmacies have been playing a vital role in the provision of women’s healthcare for decades.

“Facilitating women to access contraception directly from their community pharmacist without having to obtain a prescription from a GP every time would build on recent improvements to access, including the introduction of free contraception for women aged 17-25.

“The initial consultation with a GP, to discuss medical history, to go through the different types of contraception, and the different side effects of each, should remain an important part of the process of obtaining contraception for the first time, or if changing contraception, or returning to it after a long break.

“However there is no need for women to attend a full GP consultation every time they need a repeat prescription. Certain oral contraceptives in the UK were made available from pharmacies without the requirement for a doctor’s prescription. This should be replicated in Ireland.

“The move would also free up appointments in our GP surgeries allowing our doctors to tend to other patients.”

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