Women will be able to buy contraceptive pill over the counter from this month

Women will be able to buy the contraceptive pill over the counter for the first time ever.

The progesterone-only pill (POP), known as the "mini pill", will become available in high-street pharmacies this month.

A prescription will not be needed, just a consultation with a pharmacist.

This marks the first time in history for women being able to pick up the contraception from their local pharmacy.

It was described as a "huge win" by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG).

The UK drugs watchdog the MHRA came to the decision after a consultation was launched back in March.

It claimed the mini pills containing desogestrel will soon be available to buy in pharmacies.

These are Maxwellia's product Lovima and HPR Pharma's Hana.

Speaking about the news, Dr June Raine CBE, Chief Executive of the MHRA, said: "This is good news for women and families.

"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.

"We have consulted a wide range of people to enable us to reach the decision to make this contraceptive available for the first time in the UK without prescription."

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POP is just one type of contraceptive pill and it does not contain oestrogen like the combined pill.

Desogestrel is a synthetic form of the female sex hormone progesterone.

It is the most commonly prescribed POP in the UK and is used by millions of women.

The milestone move will make it easier for women to get birth control.

GP appointments are often a hassle or can't be booked before a prescription runs out, while walk-in sexual clinics have long waits.

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Dr Edward Morris, president of RCOG, said: "This announcement is a huge win for women and girls who will no longer face unnecessary barriers when accessing this type of contraception.

"Even before the pandemic, too many women and girls were struggling to access basic women's health services.

"The consequences of this include an increase in the number of unplanned pregnancies, which can result in poorer outcomes for women and their babies.

"Enabling women and girls to access POP more easily and conveniently will give them more control over their reproductive health, which can only be a good thing."

The move will come into effect at the end of July, but no date has been confirmed yet.

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