bpas comment: £3 morning after pill illustrates ongoing emergency contraception rip-off

Online pharmacy Dr Fox has reduced the price of progestogen-based emergency contraception to just £3. The product is available to women ordering in advance of need. bpas recommends all women have a supply of emergency contraception at home, however this does not reduce the need for a more affordable product to be made available to women to buy straight from the shelf of a pharmacy when they need it. Despite huge reductions in price following a bpas campaign in 2017, women are still paying up to £26 for the progestogen-based pill in some pharmacies, which only costs a fraction of that price to produce.

bpas would like to see progestogen-based emergency contraception reclassified as a General Sales List medication, so it can be sold directly from the shelf without a consultation at a more affordable price. The mandatory consultation serves little clinical purpose, and can act as a barrier to access. A poll conducted by bpas showed 64% of women would like to see it made available without a consultation. At present, only a third of women use emergency contraception after an episode of unprotected sex. While emergency contraception is not a silver bullet to unwanted pregnancy, it is a significantly under-utilised resource.

Clare Murphy, Director of External Affairs at bpas, said:

“The sale of the morning after pill for £3 illustrates just how cheap this medication is, but women are still having to pay vastly over the odds for this pill at their time of need. We believe emergency contraception belongs on the shelf of the pharmacy, not hidden away at the back, accessible only after a consultation. The progestogen pill is extremely safe, can be used as often as needed, and gives women a second chance of avoiding an unwanted pregnancy that may risk their physical and mental health. There is simply no reason why we should restrict access in the way we do when the stakes for women are so high – women know when they need it and should be trusted to use it.”

ENDS

For more information please contact the bpas press office on 07788 725185

About bpas

bpas is a charity which sees more than 80,000 women a year for reproductive healthcare services including pregnancy counselling, abortion care, miscarriage management and contraception, at clinics across the UK. It supports and advocates for reproductive choice. BPAS also runs the Centre for Reproductive Research and Communication, which seeks to develop and deliver a research agenda that furthers women’s access to evidence-based reproductive healthcare, driven by an understanding of women’s perspectives and needs. You can find out more here: https://www.bpas.org/get-involved/centre-for-reproductive-research-communication/