16 November 2023

Oral contraceptives to be included in pharmacy trial for over-the-counter medications

| Claire Fenwicke
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oral contraceptive pill

A pharmacy trial has been expanded to allow the re-supply of oral contraceptives over the counter. Photo: File.

Five Canberra pharmacies will now be able to dispense a re-supply of the oral contraceptive pill as part of a new trial.

Capital Chemist Charnwood, Gold Creek Discount Drug Store, The Pharmacy on Petrie in Civic, Erindale Pharmacy at Erindale Shopping Centre and PharmaSave Woden Pharmacy at Westfield Woden are already part of the trial for pharmacists to prescribe antibiotics for uncomplicated UTIs in women.

That’s being expanded to the pill – without having to get a repeat script from the doctor first.

Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith said pharmacists had an increasingly important role in the health system.

“Enabling pharmacists to supply certain low-risk medications when it is safe to do so is one way of providing more timely access to medications and treatments for Canberrans and reducing pressures on primary health care providers and our emergency departments,” she said.

“The highly trained pharmacists participating in the trial will be able to have a conversation with eligible Canberrans to determine whether they can provide medications, or whether the person needs to see a doctor or nurse practitioner.

“The ACT Government recognises the important role of pharmacists in the health care system and welcomes the opportunity, through this trial, to see where that role can be safely expanded for the benefit of the community.”

READ ALSO Unredacted staff survey results reveal ‘absolute horror story’ at ACT Health, Liberals say

The pharmacy trial is being led collaboratively by NSW Health and the University of Newcastle, with this expansion available to people aged 18 to 35.

They may be able to get their next supply of the pill after consultation with a participating pharmacist if they have been taking their current pill for contraceptive purposes, and have been continuously prescribed a low-risk oral contraceptive pill in the last two years by a doctor or nurse practitioner.

Pharmacy Guild ACT branch president Simon Blacker said this would enable people to have their pill supply restocked at a time that suited them.

“It’s a good example of community pharmacies partnering with GPs and other health professionals to treat common health conditions with increased accessibility, in a safe and efficient way to unclog the health system,” he said.

“Community pharmacies in the ACT are ready to do more for patients’ health by having community pharmacists working to their full scope of practice, and we look forward to working further with the ACT Government on this.”

NSW, Queensland, and Victoria are already trialling the resupply of the oral contraceptive pill by community pharmacists.

READ ALSO Canberrans reminded to stay safe as ACT records highest weekly COVID-19 cases since June

Earlier this year the ACT Government also expanded the vaccines pharmacists could administer in the ACT without a prescription.

For certain age groups, you can receive a jab for COVID-19, influenza, hepatitis A and B, dTpa (diptheria, tetanus, a cellular pertussis), human papillomavirus, MMR (measles, mumps and rubella), ACWY meningococcal, poliomyelitis, typhoid and herpes zoster virus.

Information about the pharmacy prescription trial for the oral contraceptive pill and uncomplicated UTIs can be found via ACT Health.

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What is the purpose of the covid-19 vaccine?

Surely there should be a limit of the number of antibiotics that are handed out, one nervous customer would create an drug resistant superbug if not taken properly and regularly perscribed.

Seems like bandaids on the poor health system.

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