IRELAND – Calls for Government to make contraception more accessible via over-the-counter solutions, especially for young people

“THE Irish Pharmacy Union is calling on the Government to make contraception more accessible by offering more over the counter solutions for those seeking birth control. It follows the recent expansion of the free contraception scheme for young women between 17 and 30.

“While the organisation welcomed the move, representatives are still urging the government to make it easier and faster for young women to avail of the scheme. Their hope is to see pharmacies enabled to provide convenient access to contraception without prescription from a pharmacy. This service is already available to UK, USA, Canada and New Zealand-based women in a bid to promote choice and improve health outcomes.

“Chair of IPU’s Pharmacy Contractors Committee, Kathy Maher, voiced concern about excessive workloads. ‘The expansion of the free contraception scheme is an extremely welcome development and should be commended,’ she said, stressing the need for common sense: ‘Allowing pharmacies to dispense oral contraception direct to patients… would make the process faster and easier for the women involved, alleviate the pressure on GPs and therefore be cost effective for the health system. In essence it is a no brainer.’”

[It might also encourage access to medical abortion pills over the counter too…]

SOURCE:, by Donal O’Keeffe, 3 September 2023