Medsafe has approved a change of classification to some oral contraceptives which will allow pharmacists to provide the pill to women under certain circumstances.
Under the change, trained pharmacists will be able to dispense up to a six-month supply of certain oral contraceptives to women who have had them prescribed by their doctor in the last three years.
The Medicine Classifications Committee (MCC) made a recommendation last month that the changes be made, which Medsafe has accepted. The reclassification is excepted to come into effect by the end of the month, though pharmacies won’t be able to start dispensing the medication until pharmacists have been deemed appropriately trained.
A submission to reclassify selected oral contraceptives was first made in 2014. MCC chair Dr Stewart Jessamine said the committee had extensively reviewed the proposal and was satisfied pharmacists could dispense the pill to women who met certain criteria “with the same levels of safety as other healthcare professionals”.
Medsafe’s decision has been covered widely by NZ media, including:
Radio NZ: Pharmacies to sell pill over the counter
NZ Herald: Fewer prescriptions needed to buy contraceptive pills from pharmacists
Stuff.co.nz: Oral contraceptives to be sold over the counter – but not everyone happy
Newshub: Oral contraceptive pill to be dispensed over the counter
TVNZ: Contraceptive pill will soon be available over counter without prescription
Otago Daily Times: Women soon able to buy pill over counter
Radio NZ: Call for more nurses to prescribe the pill