The UK APPG advises reclassifying POP as an OTC medicine

Consumer

The UK All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Sexual and Reproductive Health has recommended that the progestogen-only pill (POP) should be reclassified to make it accessible at the counter without the need for a prescription and to increase women's access across the country.

This recommendation follows the findings of an inquiry initiated last year by the APPG in response to concerns that women are unable to access contraceptives when needed. This was relaunched in early 2020 to acknowledge the impact of the pandemic on women's access to contraceptives. The report stated that the investigation revealed issues related to commissioning, procurement and workforce, resulting in women facing lengthy waiting times or having to drive excessively long distances to get contraceptives.

“The UK APPG on Sexual and Reproductive Health has recommended that the POP should be accessible at the counter without the need for a prescription. “

The move will put the UK into line with many other parts of the world, where the POP without a prescription is already available.

The APPG stated that a significant opportunity to expand the role of community pharmacists in supplying POP: “Are not only beneficial for women and alternate service providers, but evidence shows that they can encourage the use of contraception and a result may help reduce unintended pregnancies.”

The report stated: “We also heard a compelling case to change the classification of POP to make POP available over the counter, making it easier for women to access. As such this inquiry recommends the reclassification of the POP to make it available over the counter without a prescription as a pharmacy medicine. The restoration of services after the COVID-19 pandemic, along with the repurposing of the functions of Public Health England, provides a unique opportunity for national and local government to reshape contraceptive services according to the needs of women themselves and to make more efficient use of NHS resources.”

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