Women can now buy the morning after pill online for the first time

Irish women can now, for the first time, purchase the morning after pill online, following the launch of a new Click & Collect service by McCabes Pharmacy and morning after pill brand, ellaOne. It will initially be available in nine McCabes Pharmacy store locations, across Dublin, Louth, Wexford and Limerick. This new service offers Irish women a more convenient and confidential way to access emergency contraception.

Research conducted by ellaOne(1) in 2020 shows that 44% of Irish women aged between 18-35 years had engaged in unprotected sex in the last year. However, only 26% of those women took the morning after pill. Of those surveyed, 71% said that they would be more likely to use the morning after pill if they could order it online.

Commenting on the new service, Lisa Byrne Superintendent Pharmacist of McCabes Pharmacy said, “We are very proud to be the first pharmacy in Ireland to offer a Click & Collect service for the morning after pill. It is clear from the research conducted by ellaOne that this new online service is likely to provide greater access, comfort and privacy to women who may be reluctant to request emergency contraception in store, for whatever reason. At McCabes Pharmacy we are committed to constantly evolving our online pharmacy healthcare services in line with the developing needs of our customers.”

Emma Marsh, ellaOne Senior Brand Manager added, “Our extensive research to date shows that Irish women continue to feel that there’s a stigma associated with taking the morning after pill and we want to change this narrative. Many have chosen not to take it after unprotected sex, risking an unplanned pregnancy, as they are too embarrassed to go into a pharmacy. The ambition for this new Click & Collect service is that it represents a progressive next step in removing barriers for women and it is our hope that more will follow.”

By enabling women to complete the consultation form, assess their suitability and purchase the morning after pill online, the Click & Collect service will remove the need to request emergency contraception by name in store, which can be a daunting experience for many women. The medication is collected directly from the pharmacist following a brief consultation where the customer will also have the opportunity to ask any questions they may have.

Another notable finding of ellaOne’s Irish research is that 91% of female participants search online for information on emergency contraception, primarily through Google, social media platforms and online forums.

Responding to this, Lisa Byrne said, “We’re very aware that there is a lot of misinformation and myths about the morning after pill online. The Click & Collect service is an innovative way for us to reach out to women who are searching for information online after unprotected sex and who otherwise may risk an unplanned pregnancy by not presenting in pharmacy to purchase emergency contraception”.

This new service is in accordance with current guidelines on the Internet supply of non-prescription products and McCabes Pharmacy is a registered Internet retail pharmacy business. ellaOne is also licensed by Ireland’s Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA).

The Morning After Pill Click & Collect service is available on www.mccabespharmacy.com. For further information on emergency contraception visit www.ellaone.ie.