Expanding access to oral contraceptives does not pose risk to patient safety

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) strongly refutes assertions that expanding access to the oral contraceptive pill presents a risk to patient safety.

PSA National President, A/Prof Chris Freeman, said that the AMA’s claims appear to be deliberately deceptive.
“Pharmacists can currently dispense oral contraceptives without a script, under continued dispensing arrangements. This means that if a patient has previously had a valid script from a general practitioner dispensed within the last six months, their pharmacists can provide a full manufacturers pack, which is generally a four month supply.”
“In the past, the AMA has strongly opposed continued dispensing arrangements for the same hollow reason that they now want to restrict women’s access to the oral contraceptive pill.”
“During COVID-19 pandemic, the continued dispensing arrangements were expanded so that Australians would not go without their life saving medicines. Through this measure, pharmacists have prevented death and serious morbidity by simply continuing medicines that have already been prescribed by the patient’s doctor.”
“The application is simply just an extension of the expanded continued dispensing arrangements. The closed-minded approach by the AMA negates access to contraception for Australians, it is nothing more than a turf war, shielded by an apparent patient safety debate.”
“PSA strongly supports pharmacists’ ability to dispense the oral contraceptive pill where it has been previously prescribed by a general practitioner, and where the pharmacist has met the necessary accreditation, training and professional practice requirements.”
“Pharmacists are not suggesting that taking the oral contraceptive is without risks. Pharmacists, as medicine experts, want to ensure safe and timely access to care and are well-placed to advise patients of the potential risks.”
“PSA supports lowering barriers to access for Australian women. It’s not about taking away access to general practice – far from it, and GPs will always be there for women seeking an appointment. We need to work together to provide better access to care for more women when they need it.” A/Prof Freeman said.
Inability to access oral contraceptives can have life-changing consequences for patients and PSA will continue to advocate for improved access to such medicines.
/Public Release. This material comes from the originating organization and may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length.