Emergency contraception use remains steady

// 10 July 2005

Surprise surprise – making the morning after pill available over the counter in chemists has not resulted in a surge in unsafe sex, the BBC reports.

Researchers from Imperial College London surveyed women aged

16 to 49, both before and after emergency contraception was made available without a prescription, and found no change in condom use – and no increase in use of the morning after pill.

The number of women who have used emergency contraception has stayed relatively steady at eight per cent. But the way they got the morning after pill did change – a smaller number went to their GP or NHS clinic, and most bought it from their chemist.

Women with the highest incomes were five times more likely than women on low incomes to buy emergency contraception this way, prompting some to suggest that more women would use it if it was cheaper.

At present, over the counter emergency contraception costs £25 – although it can still be accessed more cheaply on prescription from a doctor. But Brook is arguing that it should be made available free of charge, without presciption for all.

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