Stuff.co.nz 24 October 2013
Making the morning-after pill free to young Kiwi women is being considered to reduce teen pregnancies and abortions.
The move, to allow pharmacists to dish out the emergency contraceptive pill (ECP) free to women under the age of 25, has already been hailed a success in other regions, but the Canterbury District Health Board (CDHB) is reluctant to back it after rejecting a similar proposal earlier this year.
The CDHB claims the service will “not drop unplanned pregnancy rates” – a stance that puts it at odds with Christchurch pharmacists and youth health workers.
In April this year, the Canterbury Community Pharmacy Group (CCPG) put forward a proposal to the CDHB for women to have free access to the ECP, citing schoolgirls turned away from pharmacies unable to pay the $40 fee and reports of a rise in risk-taking behaviour, including unprotected sex, post-earthquake.
The CDHB dismissed the proposal but now Government drug-buying agency Pharmac is “actively working” on rolling out a nationwide scheme to allow pharmacies to offer the ECP free of charge.