Christie Hayes told Mamamia her morning after pill story, and the pharmacist’s response left her outraged.
Now another pharmacist, Jarrod McMaugh, who was disappointed by the situation wants to help set the record straight on what you should expect if you need the morning after pill.
“You have a right to access ‘over the counter’ medications, and the pharmacist has an obligation to ensure that these medications are safe for you, and will be effective.
Your partner (or any third party you choose) can purchase on your behalf – in this case, the pharmacist should contact you directly by phone to discuss all of the issues with you. A third party can’t answer questions for you, and they can’t be relied upon to deliver all of the information you need to know.
Emergency contraception is most effective within 24 hours, but can be very effective and safe up to five days after unprotected sex.
There are some cases where emergency contraception won’t work for you, and your pharmacist will recommend another course of action in these instances.”
What is emergency contraception?
“Broadly speaking, it covers any intervention after sexual intercourse that prevents pregnancy. The important thing to remember is that these interventions prevent pregnancy – in the case of Levonorgestrel, if a woman is already pregnant, taking the medication will not affect the pregnancy.
“Emergency contraception is most effective within 24 hours. Levonorgestrel is considered effective up to three days after sex, while Ulipristal can be used up to five days after sex. For this reason, the term “morning after” is a little misleading, but if possible, acting within 24 hours will be the most effective course of action.
About “over the counter” medications
“The term “over the counter” is used to refer to medications that can be purchased without a prescription. What is important to remember is that many medications still require significant clinical input from a pharmacist – this is referred to as “Schedule 3”.
“Medications are often put in to schedule 3 for one of three broad reasons – There is a potential for abuse, the medication has a high potential for side effects, or the condition being treated requires clinical skills to determine the correct course of treatment (emergency contraception falls into this point).
“In all of these cases, there is a requirement for the pharmacist to communicate directly with the patient in order to determine the best course of action.
Can your partner purchase emergency contraception on your behalf?
“Despite Christie Hayes’ experience, there is no reason that a person who requires this medication can’t have a third party purchase it on their behalf – but there are a few things that need to happen to ensure the supply is appropriate.