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Less than three percent of pharmacies want to write prescriptions for morning-after pills. “Let's give it some more time”

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Someone always has to be first, no program was universal from the beginning – this is how one can explain the small number of pharmacies in the pilot program for emergency contraception. Nationally, it is less than three percent. Under the program, a prescription for the morning-after pill is issued immediately by a pharmacist, not by a doctor.

71 pharmacies have signed contracts with the National Health Fund, almost 270 want to sign them, i.e. every thirty-fifth pharmacy in Poland has declared participation in the pilot project on emergency contraception.

– Women in Poland should have access to contraception, including emergency contraception. Since there is no other option, I signed up for this program – says Konrad Czemarmazowicz, owner of Apteka Mniszek in Wrocław.

The prescription system is not helping yet. The technology rebelled in Szczecin, but the people did not disappoint. – IT work is still ongoing to enable us to enter such a visit into the system, but the patient, of course, left the pharmacy safe – says Joanna Urbańska, owner of the Medica II pharmacy in Szczecin.

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– As with any new service, there must be pioneers, and they will set the pace for further pharmacies – says Wojciech Chmielak, vice-president of the West Pomeranian District Pharmaceutical Chamber.

Buda asked what the “morning after” pill is: let the editor ask the experts about itTVN24

Who can get a prescription?

It is difficult to blaze trails, but pioneers in Poznań will also try. – In recent days, the minister has said publicly that she will not punish pharmacists, therefore we are joining this program – says Renata Kulig-Nowicka, owner of Apteka Na Starówce in Poznań.

READ ALSO: It is not controversial in the West, but in Poland? Experts explain how the morning-after pill works

A prescription for the morning-after pill, issued by a pharmacist after conducting an interview, is free for patients. You have to pay 100 percent for the pill, but in some pharmacies you may hit a wall if you are under 18 years old.

Not everyone will risk a possible lawsuit from the parents of underage girls. – For people who are over 15 years of age, we suggest obtaining the consent of a legal guardian, and between 16 and 18 years of age, obtaining the consent of the so-called parallel, i.e. the patient and the legal guardian – explains Marek Tomków, president of the Supreme Pharmaceutical Council.

Pill "the day after".  More than 50 percent of Poles evaluate the president's veto negatively

Morning after pill. More than 50 percent of Poles evaluate the president's veto negativelyKatarzyna Górniak/Fakty TVN

Activists' petition

The National Health Fund believes that it must succeed. – I am convinced that the strength of the arguments of the Ministry of Health and the National Health Fund will convince pharmacists who have doubts. Let's give ourselves some more time, says Filip Nowak, president of the National Health Fund.

There will be no pressure – assures the ministry. – The pharmacist is completely independent and it is he who makes the final decision whether to write such a prescription and whether to give the patient a “morning after” pill – declares Damian Kuraś, press spokesman for the Ministry of Health.

Officials face another clash – with activists of Abortion Without Borders. In the petition, the activists demand participation in the team for women's health safety established by the ministry. They argue that in 2022, activists helped over 44,000 Polish women terminate their pregnancies. At the same time, state facilities performed 161 abortions. That's why strong words are spoken.

– We don't want to talk about the beginning of life or whether abortion is bad or good. We want to talk about women's safety and health – emphasizes Natalia Broniarczyk from the Abortyczny Dream Team group.

The petition is expected to reach the Ministry of Health's desk on Friday. The ministry does not rule out that it will invite abortion activists to the meeting table.

Main photo source: Shutterstock

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