A new proposal put forward by the Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU) has called for a number of hormonal contraception methods to be made available for free and without prescription.
The Irish Times reports that, should the new measures come into effect, the pill, the patch, and the ring, would be freely available for all women over the age of 17.
The proposed scheme would see pharmacists undergo additional training in line with international guidelines on the provision of contraceptives.
In order to avail of the scheme, women would not be required to have previously been prescribed a hormonal contraceptive.
A spokesperson for the IPU said: “Given the professional input and the time involved in providing the service, consultation fees in line with those already paid for the EHC consultation to GMS patients (currently €11.50 plus ingredient cost and standard dispensing fee) would be appropriate.”
Similar to the push back on the provision of the morning after pill in 2011, it's likely that GPs would strongly oppose such a change.
“There are no clinical reasons why oral contraceptives should still require a prescription. The oral contraceptive is one of the safest and most well-studied medicines available,” according to its proposal.