Pill soon without a prescription

Pill soon without a prescription

EU recommends over-the-counter delivery of emergency contraception in pharmacies
26.11.2014

So far, women have only had to see a doctor for the so-called "morning-after pill" because prescription and advice were mandatory for the use of emergency contraception. Now the EU drug experts have spoken out in favor of dispensing the "ellaOne" product without a prescription in pharmacies. While Health Minister Gröhe (CDU) had previously adhered to the prescription requirement, the women of the SPD parliamentary group see a major advance in the political change of course for the "right of self-determination of modern women".

Prescription and medical advice so far mandatory So far, the so-called "morning-after pill" was only available on prescription. The problem with this is that the medication can prevent an unwanted pregnancy after a contraceptive breakdown, but only if it is taken as quickly as possible. But not every woman manages to see a doctor in good time, be it because the practice is closed on weekends or because a visit is filled with fear or shame. Nevertheless, the Federal Minister of Health Hermann Gröhe (CDU) has so far strictly adhered to the fact that women should receive the pill after unprotected sexual intercourse only on prescription and after medical advice.

European approval authority recommends prescription-free pill for ellaOne containing ulipristal. However, on Friday, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) called for an over-the-counter dispensing of ellaOne in pharmacies, which was approved centrally by the European Union. This is an ulipristal emergency contraception that can be used up to 120 hours (5 days) after a possible unwanted fertilization to prevent pregnancy. "Based on the evaluation of the available information, the CHMP came to the conclusion that ellaOne can be used safely and effectively without a doctor's prescription. ellaOne has been approved in the EU since 2009 and comprehensive information on the dangers and benefits has been collected and investigated, ”according to a recent EMA message. If the EU Commission should lift the prescription requirement within the entire EU, this would also mean that the product can be freely given for Germany.

Pharmacists should take responsibility for proper handling An important step for the Federal Pharmacist Association, precisely because the effectiveness is greatest if the pill is taken as quickly as possible. “Without a prescription, we could help our patients even faster. In the pharmacies close to home with their low-threshold and nationwide night and emergency service, women receive the 'morning-after pill' immediately, ”says Dr. Andreas Kiefer, the President of the Federal Pharmacy Chamber. According to Kiefer, the pharmacists would of course assume responsibility for the correct use of the preparation. An important point, because critics fear, among other things, that easier access could lead to neglect of long-term contraception.

Criteria for high-quality advice necessary For Minister Hermann Gröhe, this was not an easy situation. Accordingly, he emphasized to the “dpa” that a thorough review of the recommendations of the EU Medicines Committee was pending. If Brussels decides against compulsory advice from a doctor, "intensive advice is also the right way in pharmacies," Gröhe conceded. In this case, however, it is important to "develop criteria for high-quality advice with doctors, pharmacies and the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices," the minister added. Jens Spahn, the health policy spokesman for the CDU, is also critical of the decision of the licensing authority: “It is a shame that our arguments are apparently not heard in Brussels. But in any case we want to ensure a high level of counseling after the pill. ”This can be done, for example, using a consultation form in the pharmacy, which has already been introduced in Switzerland, Spahn continued to tell the dpa.

SPD women welcome Gröhe change of course On the other hand, Gröhe change of direction was received positively by the women of the SPD faction. As the SPD health politician Martina Stamm-Fibich emphasized, over-the-counter access to the pill was long overdue afterwards "and an important part of the right of self-determination of modern women." In this context, it was also necessary to offer women the options, cheaper and medical to offer further researched preparations. Accordingly, not only ulipristal pills should be freely available in the future, but also products that contain the active ingredient levonorgestrel. (No)

Image: Wilhelmine Wulff / pixelio.de

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