High street pharmacies accused of ripping off women after online brand reduces morning after pill to £3

The morning after pill (Picture: Getty)

An online pharmacy has reduced the price of the morning-after pill to £3 – compared to around £26 elsewhere.

The British Pregnancy Advisory Service (bpas) says that this shows how women are being ‘ripped off’ when it comes to emergency contraception.

Dr Fox, an online pharmacy, reduced the price of the 1.5mg Levonorgestrel tablet this week. They also sell the branded version Levonelle, for £9, and ellaOne for £23.50.

As the £3 pill can only be bought online, they recommend seeing a GP, sexual health clinic or local pharmacy if you have recently had unprotected sex because it takes 24 hours to arrive – but they said that it could be ordered to have as a ‘standby’ supply, as bpas recommends.

Anyone ordering the pill will have a short assessment online before it is released.

The Levonorgestrel 1.5mg is effective up to 72 hours after intercourse but works better the sooner it is taken after unprotected sex.

Bpas campaigned for a reduction in the cost of emergency contraception in 2017, but said that women are still paying up to £26.

They said that this reduction in price by Dr Fox shows that the medication can be sold at a lower price.

They want  to see progestogen-based emergency contraception reclassified as a General Sales List medication, so it can be sold directly from the shelf without a consultation at a more affordable price.

A poll conducted by bpas showed 64% of women would like to see it made available without a consultation.

Clare Murphy, Director of External Affairs at bpas, said: ‘The sale of the morning after pill for £3 illustrates just how cheap this medication is, but women are still having to pay vastly over the odds for this pill at their time of need.

‘We believe emergency contraception belongs on the shelf of the pharmacy, not hidden away at the back, accessible only after a consultation.

‘The progestogen pill is extremely safe, can be used as often as needed, and gives women a second chance of avoiding an unwanted pregnancy that may risk their physical and mental health.

‘There is simply no reason why we should restrict access in the way we do when the stakes for women are so high – women know when they need it and should be trusted to use it.’

Dr Tony Steele, Medical Director at Dr Fox added: ‘We would like women to have the best possible outcomes. If we can encourage women to think ahead, they can now obtain the morning after pill to keep at home, ready if they need it, at this highly competitive price.’

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