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Opinion, Comment & Reviews
  Pill should be available 'over-the-counter' says its inventor
News release from Pro-Choice Forum

Support for over-the counter provision of oral contraception was expressed by Professor Carl Djerassi, the inventor of the Pill this week. Speaking in an interview for LM magazine, Djerassi stated:

'For healthy young women, oral contraceptives are of such low risk now I would make the case that they should be available over the counter. I would be in favour of the Pill being available without prescription. There is no medical reason why not.'

Professor Djerassi emphasised that there are now no health safety reasons why the Pill could not be bought at a chemist, like other off prescription drugs. He also discounted the idea that the prescription only status of the Pill should be maintained so doctors can give Pill users health checks. He said:

'The only argument against over the counter provision is that having to get a prescription drives women for health checks. If that is the only reason, I would say make it more attractive for people to go separate to getting the Pill.'

Djerassi was speaking in advance of, 'Sex After the Pill' a discussion to be held as part of LMs 'Sex Wars' conference taking place on Saturday 12 February. Ellie Lee, co-ordinator of Pro-Choice Forum and organiser of 'Sex After the Pill' said:

'Professor Djerassi's comments are very welcome. Contraceptive Awareness week is coming up, and the best message there could be is that the Pill is safe. Pro-Choice Forum's experience is that young women in particular still believe the Pill is very risky, are have been put off using it. Abortion rates have carried on rising since the 1995 Pill panic, partly because women still think it is unsafe. The best way to make it clear to all that the Pill has a clean bill of health would be for the Government to push over the counter provision'
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