RCOG suggested to reclassify progestogen-only contraceptives from prescription-only to pharmacy product

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) is the latest to call for emergency hormonal contraception (EHC) to be available ‘off the shelf’ without a consultation.

In its report Better for Women, RCOG said that many women were struggling to access healthcare services including contraception, abortion care and menopause support.

The professional association recommended to make EHC and progestogen-only contraceptives (POP) accessible for women and that oral EHC was reclassified to the General Sales List.

“The MHRA should ensure that oral EHC is reclassified to the General Sales List to enable it to be sold straight off the shelf without consultation. It should be made available, free of charge, over the counter throughout the UK. The RCOG supports FSRH calls for individuals, including under-18s, to have full access to free emergency contraception at time and place of need,” the RCOG report said.

The RCOG’s recommendation came amidst ongoing debates following claims made by British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) that some pharmacies were overcharging women for emergency contraception services.

In response to the RCOG report, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) President Sandra Gidley repeated the need to make emergency contraception free through community pharmacies in England.

“Having a consultation with a pharmacist is focused on helping women who need emergency contraception. There are several methods of emergency contraception available to woman and as well as supporting the choice that’s best for situation, pharmacists can advise on future use of contraception and the risk of sexually transmitted infections,” Gidley said.