NEC BIRMINGHAM
13-14 OCTOBER 2024

07 Feb 2024

Over the counter contraception. It’s about time.

Maxwellia
Over the counter contraception. It’s about time.

With the roll-out of the pharmacy contraception service, you may be wondering if OTC contraception still has a place. In this article, Maxwellia explores the importance of consumer choice and convenience.

Following the national roll-out of the Pharmacy Contraception Service in December 2023, the government has reported that over 3000 pharmacies have already signed up to offer the scheme1. At Maxwellia, we believe that this new service is a huge leap forward for women’s reproductive health, as it significantly enhances the options available to women seeking contraception.

However, contraception in pharmacy is not completely new. The emergency contraceptive pill has been available to buy over the counter in pharmacies since 20012. And in 2021, the progesterone-only daily contraceptive pill was reclassified from POM to P status3, with Maxwellia’s pioneering brand Lovima® being one of the first OTC contraception pills to hit pharmacy shelves.

Hailed as a revolution in women’s health, Lovima was praised for helping women to access their contraception conveniently in pharmacy without the need to book an appointment. With just a short consultation process using Lovima’s active pack, and with no need for record keeping, it’s a simple process for pharmacists too.

With the new Pharmacy Contraception Service now available, you may be wondering if there is still a place for the over-the-counter offer. The short answer, yes, it is. And here’s why…

For some women, the ability to access the contraceptive pill at a time that suits them, without the constraints of pre-booking an appointment in pharmacy or with the GP, holds immeasurable value. In a landscape where convenience often carries a premium, the idea of paying for timely access to contraception is one that is accepted by many women, and the reasons behind this choice are nuanced.

Time is a precious commodity, and for many women, the demands of daily life can make scheduling an appointment challenging. The prospect of walking into their local pharmacy, engaging in the short OTC contraception consultation, and leaving with their pill in hand presents a liberating alternative. The convenience of immediate access, even at a cost, can outweigh the monetary considerations for those who value flexibility and autonomy over their reproductive health choices. In a study conducted by Maxwellia, 44% of women4 agreed they would be willing to pay to get daily contraception more quickly and easily.

Consumer choice lies at the heart of the evolving self-care landscape. Acknowledging and respecting the needs and preferences of individuals is key in fostering a healthcare system that truly serves the communities we live in.

The pharmacy contraception service along complemented with the OTC option aligns with the notion that women should have choice, allowing them to make decisions based on what suits them. Embracing consumer choice not only ensures personalised and patient-centric care but also contributes to the overall empowerment of individuals in managing their health.

Learn more about Lovima® and its sister brand LoviOne®, including access to training materials here: https://www.lovima.com/hcp/our-brands/.

Maxwellia will be exhibiting at the Pharmacy Show 2024 where we will be showcasing more ground-breaking women’s health pharmacy medicines. We look forward to seeing you there.

 

References:

1. https://www.pharmacymagazine.co.uk/news/government-says-3-000-pharmacies-in-england-signed-up-to-contraception-service 

2. https://www.thelancet.com/pdfs/journals/lancet/PIIS0140673600034103.pdf  

3. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/first-progesterone-only-contraceptive-pills-to-be-available-to-purchase-from-pharmacies

4. Survey of 1,009 women aged 18-55, Censuswide commissioned by Maxwellia (Dec 2020).

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