By ALYX GORMAN
Imagine if getting your hands on three months worth of a contraceptive pill was as simple as walking into a pharmacy and filling out a brief questionnaire.
That could be a reality in Australia next year if a submission that is currently before the Therapeutic Goods Administration gets accepted.
The amendment proposed would require patients seeking oral contraceptive pills to fill out a short survey, covering “family history of heart problems, hypertension and stroke” and take an in-pharmacy blood pressure test, before being issued with a three to six month supply of the pill.
This might sound like a blessing when it comes to convenience of use but the Australian Medical Association have serious reservations about making the pill available over the counter.
GP and AMA representative Dr Brian Morton explains:
“The oral contraceptive pill is a very safe medication, but it should be prescribed by a GP, with all the quality care that’s needed for women. A simple questionnaire and buying it over the counter doesn’t give women the safety that they need.”
In rare cases, the oral contraceptive pill can lead to high blood pressure, increased risk of clotting and even stroke, and Dr Morton believes that “a subtle assessment of a patient’s risk can’t be done with a questionnaire.”