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Medical leaders call for the reclassification of oral emergency contraception to increase accessibility | FSRH Press Release

FSRH press release 30 jan 2024


The UK’s leading sexual and reproductive healthcare body have published a statement calling for the reclassification of oral emergency contraception from a Pharmacy (P) medicine to General Sales List (GSL). This would enable oral emergency contraception to be purchased from general retail outlets, from supermarkets to petrol stations, removing barriers and improving access for all

Representing 14,000 healthcare professionals the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (FSRH) supports universal provision of free, accessible oral emergency contraception across the UK, without fear of harassment or stigma.

The position was recently passed by the Council of the FSRH and has been officially endorsed by eight leading organisations in the sector, The Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine (FPM), The Faculty of Public Health (FPH), The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP), MSI Reproductive Choices, the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), the National Unplanned Pregnancy Advisory Service (NUPAS) and Brook.

Dr Janet Barter, President of the Faculty of Sexual & Reproductive Healthcare said:

“Access to contraception is such a basic human right and it is high time we begin to remove the barriers people face accessing oral emergency contraception. We want to make oral emergency contraception free and easily accessible to everyone who needs it, at a time and place that suits them, be that in a supermarket or their local sexual health clinic.

“It is so important that people can take full control of their own contraceptive needs. We believe that the reclassification of oral emergency contraception from a pharmacy medicine to general sales list would be an enormous step forward, giving people autonomy and empowering them to make the right decision for themselves. The next important step in the process to improve access to oral emergency contraception would be to make it free for everyone.

“Currently oral emergency contraception is available in pharmacies after a mandatory consultation with a pharmacist. This consultation can be very valuable, but the requirement does pose a barrier for some people, particularly on evenings, Sundays or national holidays when most pharmacies are shut. At the end of the day, oral emergency contraception is a very safe medication. However, it must be taken within a window of 3-5 days, and the sooner it is taken the more effective it is. It really is of utmost importance that people can pick it up as soon as possible.”


Read the full Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (FSRH) Press release >>




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