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Bills to ease emergency contraception concerns

19 Dec 2016

Minister of State Marcella Corcoran Kennedy has accepted that there should be no unnecessary barriers to women with medical cards receiving emergency hormonal contraception, following concerns expressed in the Dáil.

The HSE was developing operational structures to provide an over-the-counter (OTC) emergency hormonal contraception service for GMS patients “professionally, safely and effectively”, including clinical standards to ensure patient safety, pharmacy, as with vaccination programmes, secure claiming and verification processes, the Minister said.

A new move would enable medicines such as emergency contraception and nicotine replacements to remain available under the drugs payment, medical card and other schemes.

The purpose of section nine of the Health (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2016 was to allow the HSE to consider including OTC products in the list of reimbursable items, where appropriate. Under the 2013 Act, only prescription medicines can be supplied under community drug schemes. The 2013 Act gives a reprieve in supplying OTC medicines under community drug schemes until 2018.

The provisions of the new Bill will make the reprieve permanent and allow certain medicines to remain available under the drugs payment, medical card and other schemes. However, patients would still need a prescription to obtain an approved item under the schemes. “This is an important control clinically and for the financial operation and governance of the schemes,” Minister Corcoran Kennedy said.

In the 12 months to August this year, there were just under 13,000 emergency hormonal contraception prescriptions dispensed under all schemes, of which more than 12,000 were to medical card holders.

gary.culliton@imt.ie

The post Bills to ease emergency contraception concerns appeared first on Irish Medical Times.

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