Maxwellia’s Lovima, a daily progestogen-only pill, will be available over-the-counter in pharmacies from the end of July after regulators allowed women in the UK to purchase contraceptive pills “without prescription”.
The company has priced the pills at around £10 per month. There will be two pack sizes: one-month (28 pills) and for greater compliance, a larger three-month (84 pills) pack.
Pharmacists can order Maxwellia’s Lovima directly from the company or via their wholesalers – AAH, Alliance Healthcare, Sigma, Lexon, and DE.
Maxwellia has also developed a suite of comprehensive pharmacy training and support materials to support the launch of Lovima that can be accessed through a dedicated HCP portal at its website.
A consumer facing website is also available, providing important information on choosing the right form of contraception and seeking advice from a healthcare professional. There is also a checklist online for women to complete in advance of their visit to the pharmacy to help the consultation with the pharmacist.
The company is dedicated to helping break down contraception access barriers faced by women by launching Lovima into pharmacies and supporting greater sexual health education and awareness.
The reclassification request was spearheaded by Maxwellia, the company claimed in a press release.
The regulator’s decision has been welcomed by Sibby Buckle, an advanced pharmacist practitioner currently practicing in the east Midlands.
She said: “The entry of a progestogen-only pill as a Pharmacy medicine is a significant step forward, enabling us to better meet the contraceptive needs of our customers. As more and more people embrace self-care, this licence change presents pharmacists with a great opportunity to offer a wider choice of contraception and take a more proactive role in advising and educating customers on the contraceptive choices available.”
Maxwellia, based in Alderley Park, Cheshire, is converting and developing a range of prescription-only medicines into the next-generation of consumer healthcare pharmacy brands which will treat a range of conditions in major public health categories, including women’s health.
The company, led by founder and CEO Anna Maxwell, who has spent more than 30 years working as a registered pharmacist and in the pharmaceutical industry, commented: “This game-changing decision has allowed us to liberate this pill for thousands of women who can now choose to buy Lovima from their local pharmacy without a prescription following a consultation with their pharmacist or continue to get it for free on the NHS.
“A registered pharmacist I know that pharmacists can play an even greater role in helping people take more control of their own health, which is why we are 100 per cent focused on our switch strategy.
“We are developing a portfolio of medicines that we know pharmacists are suited to advise on and sell. Just like Lovima, every one of our new OTC brands will be supported by comprehensive training and education materials. Our vision is one of close collaboration with our pharmacy partners. We will do the heavy lifting to bring products to pharmacy and then with appropriate training and support we will put quality consumer health products in their hands to advise on and sell.”
Welcoming the decision, Dr Anne Connolly, GP and chair of the Primary Care Women’s Health Forum, said: “We have been lobbying for this licence change for many years and are pleased it has finally happened. Providing greater access to effective contraception is so important in today’s society.
Pharmacists are more than qualified to help women decide whether the progestogen-only pill is the right form of contraception for them but have been a highly underutilised contraceptive service resource until now. Recognising the important role pharmacists should play in our primary care service provision has always been important but never more than now during the Covid-19 pandemic.”
Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s director of pharmacy Robbie Turner said: “This move will increase access to an effective method of contraception and enable women to make an informed choice about their needs after discussion with a pharmacist. Pharmacies already play an important role in provision of contraception and are a convenient, expert source of help and advice.”