Increase access to oral contraception by letting the pharmacist do their job

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) calls on the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) to improve access to oral contraception.

As part of the “continuous distribution” arrangements in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic, pharmacists have safely dispensed oral contraceptives to patients who had previously been prescribed the drug without a pending prescription. Aside from the pandemic, Australian pharmacists have eight years of experience providing oral contract pills as part of ongoing distribution arrangements, demonstrating their competence to continue in this business.

Yesterday, the TGA announced an interim ruling that will revert to pre-pandemic arrangements, once again limiting a woman’s ability to access non-prescription oral contraceptives at Australian pharmacies.

PSA National President Acting Professor Chris Freeman said:

“This interim decision is very disappointing, and we will respond to the TGA to reconsider its position before making a final decision. The benefits of improved access to oral contraception are clear. Well-established models exist overseas, where pharmacists can supply the drug once it has been prescribed.

“Predictably, Australian doctor lobby groups are more concerned with ‘protecting their own land’ than providing women with quick, cheaper and safe access to contraception. The public is fed up. WADA doesn’t blink when it comes to fringe online prescribing services, but is comfortable restricting access to Australian pharmacists.

“We have already seen the success of the continued distribution of oral contraceptives during the pandemic, and internationally there are well-established models that demonstrate the successful role of pharmacists in this process.

“We respect the TGA process and will continue to work closely with them over the coming weeks to improve access to medicines,” said Professor Freeman.

Dr Fei Sim, Chair of PSA’s Community of Special Interest for Contemporary Community Pharmacy Practice (CCPP-CSI), said:

“It is very disappointing to see WADA and RACGP continue to advocate to restrict women’s access to the oral contraceptive pill. To say that this decision preserves safe access to this essential drug is ludicrous – a decision that does not take into account the best interests of patients. As Australia’s most accessible healthcare providers, pharmacists are uniquely placed to help patients access this essential medicine.

“Time is literally running out when patients seek access to contraception. Therefore, we need to put in place a process for safe access to these drugs, without the paperwork. When it comes to contraception, it is imperative that we have a patient-centered approach, one that Australian women need and deserve.

“The same rhetoric we saw at the start of pharmacist vaccination has now resurfaced, that groups of doctors have argued against pharmacist-administered vaccinations for the same empty reason that they want to restrict access to medicine. contraception. Now, the true impact of pharmacists on the rollout of COVID has been demonstrated by administering over 1.3 million COVID-19 vaccines, ”said Dr Sim.

/ Public distribution. This material is from the original organization / authors and may be ad hoc in nature, edited for clarity, style and length. The views and opinions expressed are those of the authors.

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