Any woman of reproductive age in Europe can be given EllaOne which is effective five days after intercourse says the new licence …reports Asian Lite News.
The morning-after pill has been officially licensed for use by girls under 16 for the first time and is set to be available from pharmacies across the country. EllaOne, which has the advantage of being effective five days after sexual intercourse, has received a change of licence from the European medicines agency, which means it is available for use by any woman of reproductive age in Europe, says a Guardian report.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt says he is not comfortable with girls under-16 being able to buy the pill. However, he told LBC Radio: “I’m not comfortable at all as a father about my daughters going out and buying the morning-after pill. But, as I understand it, that isn’t exactly what’s happening in [this] situation.’’
The individual concerned would be asked if they were willing for their parents to be told that they were purchasing this pill. And if not, if they were willing for someone else to talk to their parents on their behalf,said Hunt.
“And so it’s a slightly more complicated process and we do have to recognise that preventing unwanted pregnancies that can completely change a young girl’s life is not something that politicians are going to be able to legislate against. So there are situations in extremis where you have to do things that would make any mum or dad feel uncomfortable,” Hunt added.
Previous NHS policy allowed certain pharmacists to supply teenagers with a morning-after pill called Levonelle, which works up to three days after unprotected sex. Both brands stop or delay ovulation.
Girls under 16 wishing to buy the pill, which will cost £34.95, will be required to discuss their sexual activity and contraception with a pharmacist before being given it.
The UK has one of the highest rates of teenage pregnancy in Europe. Although the latest figures, released in February, showed a drop of 14% on the previous year, there were still 4,648 pregnancies in girls under 16. There were 24,306 pregnancies in under-18s, just over half of which ended in abortion.
A British Pregnancy Advisory Service spokesperson said:
“Emergency contraception is already available to under-16s through NHS schemes run by pharmacies. What has changed is that girls of this age are now able to buy this new form of emergency contraception, Ella One, if they wish. However at a price of 35 to 40 pounds, it is clearly the case that hardly any of them will do so. What we would like to see is a emergency contraception made available through NHS pharmacy schemes free of charge, for women of all ages, or at the very least a realistically priced product that women can pick up off the shelf without being interrogated by a pharmacist.’’