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    Towards a change in status of emergency contraception [editorial]

    Cayley J

    British Journal of Family Planning. 1998 Oct; 24(3):93.

    On June 11, 1998, Jenny Tonge, a former family planning doctor, tabled a motion in the House of Commons urging the House to recognize the efficacy and safety of hormonal emergency contraception (EC), and to consider pharmacy prescription to increase its availability in the UK. Dr. Tonge was supported by Members of Parliament from all parties. At the same time, the booklet "Twenty Questions about Emergency Contraception Answered" was launched. The Birth Control Trust hopes that it will serve the current debate on emergency contraception. At the booklet's launch, a panel of experts presented views and answered questions from the press and interested parties. Roger Odd, head of practice at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS), noted that pharmacists are asked weekly for EC on weekends, often from distraught people looking for sympathetic, friendly assistance. Most pharmacists feel they could supply or sell EC according to approved guidelines. Such guidelines should be put together by the RPS and other professional bodies with the cooperation of the Department of Health. There should be no provision for referral if appropriate and no conclusion to supply by an individual pharmacist if he or she objected. Pharmacists would be covered by their own code of ethics. Practical considerations of increasing the availability of EC were noted by the managing director of Schering Healthcare, the distributor of PC4, the only UK-licensed EC product. The chief executive of the Family Planning Association (FPA) described how many men and women of all ages called the FPA national hotline for EC, while an International Planned Parenthood Federation representative described experience with EC in Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The Emergency Contraception Pilot Project in Washington, US, is noted.
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