Medical card holders can now get emergency contraception
Medical card holders will be able to get emergency contraception directly from their local community pharmacist from today.
The move follows the signing of the statutory instrument changing access to emergency hormonal contraception (EHC) for medical card holders by the Health Minister on June 23.
IPU president and community pharmacist Daragh Connolly said that women with medical cards who, up to now, had to go to their GP to get a prescription if they wished to get EHC on their medical card will, from today, be able to access it directly from their community pharmacy free of charge.
"Emergency contraception is time-sensitive," he said.
"Its effectiveness diminishes between the time of unprotected sex and the time of taking it, making it crucial that all women are able to access it readily when necessary.
"The necessity to attend a GP for a prescription has always been an unnecessary barrier."
He said that had meant that the poorest women, often those who could least afford an unwanted pregnancy, were often the most affected.