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02-19-2008, 07:29 PM
In response to research from Oxford University, published in The Lancet, calling for the oral contraceptive pill to be made available to women over-the-counter, Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain (RPSGB) Director of Practice & Quality Improvement, David Pruce, said:

"The RPSGB would support a proposal to reclassify oral contraceptives from prescription only medicines to over-the-counter medicines.

"Pharmacists are experts in medicines and have a track record of supplying medicines such as emergency hormonal contraception over the counter and through Patient Group Directions. As such, they already have clinical skills and expertise that can help them provide information and advice to women to ensure the appropriate use of oral contraception.

"Reclassification of oral contraception would widen and improve patient choice, access and convenience. Community pharmacies are the front door of the NHS; they are easily accessible with no need for an appointment and located in places where people live, work and shop. Pharmacies also have convenient opening hours, often including the evenings and weekends when GP surgeries are closed.

"Regarding the necessary health checks, such as blood pressure testing and healthy lifestyle checks, these are already a part of pharmacist's extended role."

Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain (http://www.rpsgb.org.uk/)