As from late July 2021, progestogen-only contraceptive pills will be available for the first time from pharmacies without prescription. The announcement was made by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) on 8 July.

The products reclassified, Lovima 75 microgram film-coated tablets and Hana 75 microgram film-coated tablets, are both oral contraceptives for continuous use to prevent pregnancy in those of childbearing age. The MHRA’s decision to reclassify these desogestrel products follows a safety review by the Commission on Human Medicines (CHM) and a public consultation, to which Pharmacy Forum NI responded. 

Commenting on the development, June Raine, Chief Executive of the MHRA said: 

“Pharmacists have the expertise to advise women on whether desogestrel is an appropriate and safe oral contraceptive pill for them to use and to give women the information they need, to make informed choices.”

In our response, the Forum acknowledged that the reclassification from POM to P offers users more choice in terms of supply accessibility and removes barriers which may have previously stopped patients accessing this medicine in a timely fashion. While pharmacists are equipped and capable to supply/sell this product, we requested that training materials and robust governance mechanisms were put in place to give confidence to all stakeholders during the early roll-out of this new P medicine.