The morning-after pill will be freely available to medical card holders

The morning-after-pill will now be available to medical card holders without a GP visit.

The Minister for Health, Simon Harris, has announced this morning that people with medical cards will have access to emergency contraception directly from their pharmacies, free of charge from July 2017.

'Announcing this morning that access to emergency contraception directly through the pharmacy will be available on the General Medical Services scheme from July,' he said, speaking at the Irish Pharmacy Union this morning.

'All women – regardless of means – should have access to emergency contraception through their pharmacy. This measure will ensure this,' he continued, according to the Journal.

The Irish Pharmacy Union welcomed the development, saying that it 'addresses a longstanding injustice and anomaly for these women who, up to now, had to go to their GP to get a prescription if they wished to get emergency hormonal contraception (EHC) on the medical card.'

'It is time sensitive and that its effectiveness diminishes between the time of unprotected sex and the time of taking it, emphasising both the importance of all women being able to readily access it and thus the value of the convenience and accessibility offered by community pharmacies.'

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