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Morning after pill. Additional markings in some pharmacies

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Pharmacies taking part in the pilot allowing the sale of morning-after pills without a prescription will be additionally marked – informed the Ministry of Health. For the Ministry of Health, this program is the implementation of Plan B to increase the availability of emergency contraception without a prescription.

These are pharmacies participating in a pilot program for the morning-after pill, under which a pharmacist interviews the patient and issues a prescription. Thanks to this, “emergency contraception will be available to people from the age of 15 on the basis of a pharmaceutical prescription.”

The morning-after pill without a prescription

“There will be markings of pharmacies that take part in the emergency contraception pilot. Together with the National Health Fund, we are working to ensure that pharmacies can confirm their participation in the program without the risk of fines for breaking the advertising ban,” the Ministry of Health announced on Friday in an entry on the X website.

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Signage of pharmacies selling emergency contraception without a prescription

Abolishing the prescription for the morning-after pill was one of the Civic Coalition's election promises, included in “100 specifics for the first 100 days of the government.” The pilot program for pharmacies is the implementation of plan B for the Ministry of Health to increase access to emergency contraception. In this way health department circumvents the president's veto Andrzej Duda, who at the end of March did not agree to sign the bill abolishing prescriptions for the morning-after pill. In the justification, he pointed out that the act allowed people from the age of 15 to make purchases without the consent of their guardian. According to Duda, in the case of such young people, parents should consent to the use of the pill.

After the announcement of the pilot program, the pharmacy local government also raised doubts about the lower age limit for patients at which pharmacists can issue a prescription for the morning-after pill. Developed by the Ministry of Health and implemented by National Health Fund the program for pharmacies assumes that the “morning after” pill can be sold by a pharmacist from a pharmacy participating in the pilot to a patient from the age of 15. This is the so-called a pharmaceutical service in which a pharmacist interviews the patient and issues a prescription. Neither the consent nor the presence of the minor's guardian is required (unlike when the prescription is issued by a doctor). Pharmacists fear that this solution is illegal.

Refusing to sell the morning-after pill without penalty

On Tuesday, the president of the National Health Fund assured in a statement that the Fund will not penalize pharmacies participating in the pilot program if the pharmacist refuses to issue a prescription for emergency contraception or requires the minor patient's parental consent to purchase the pill. Marek Tomków, president of the Supreme Pharmaceutical Council, said that “thanks to this, pharmacists can join the pilot without any worries.” So far, there has been little interest in participating in the program – according to the National Health Fund, by May 9, 165 pharmacies (out of over 12,000 operating in Poland) had submitted applications to join the pilot program.

The possibility of selling the emergency contraceptive pill containing ulipristal acetate (trade name ellaOne) was allowed in 2015. European Commission. The decision was based on the recommendation of the European Medicines Agency. In Poland, the morning-after pill was available over the counter for patients aged 15 and over for two years. The regulation introducing the pill to circulation without a prescription was signed in April 2015 by Bartosz Arłukowicz, Minister of Health in the PO-PSL government, then led by Ewa Kopacz. The prescription was reintroduced in 2017 by the government's Minister of Health PIS Konstanty Radziwiłł. As a result, Poland and Hungary are the only European Union member states where a prescription for this type of contraception is required.

Main photo source: Shutterstock



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