Improving safe access to contraceptives

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) has called for pharmacies to play a greater role in improving safe access to contraceptives.

This is supported by a Senate Committee report on sexual and reproductive healthcare.

The report tabled by the Senate Community Affairs Reference Committee, Ending the postcode lottery: Addressing barriers to sexual, maternity and reproductive healthcare in Australia, recommends significant changes to Australia’s health system to make contraception, abortion and pregnancy care more accessible.

Among the recommendations are calls for all health professionals to practise to their full scope.

PSA National President Dr Fei Sim FPS acknowledges the recommendations, reiterating her support for pharmacist-prescribed contraceptives.

“Safe access to the latest and safest contraception is not a luxury, it is a basic healthcare need,” says Dr Sim.

“Pharmacists are ready and able to improve healthcare for all Australians, offering safe, accessible, and equitable access to contraception and expert advice on their options.

“In many places around the world, pharmacists are already able to prescribe contraceptives to patients, giving us a model of care that is improving healthcare access for patients.

“To ensure that access to reproductive healthcare is timely and contemporary we must be prepared to do things differently and allow all health professionals to practice to their top of scope.

“Oral contraceptive pills are widely considered to be safe and effective medications, with more than 100 countries around the world allowing pharmacists to prescribe them without a prescription.

“Pharmacists are well placed to inform patients about their contraceptive options, including Long Acting Reversible Contraceptives.

“This is about making sure that Australians can access contraception when and where they need it.

“Pharmacists can and should be doing more to support the healthcare needs of Australians,” says Dr Sim.