Morning-after pill available at pharmacies as of today

The morning-after pill is now available in pharmacies around Malta and Gozo, Medicines Authority chief Anthony Serracino Inglott has confirmed.

jeanelle_mifsud
Jeanelle Mifsud
14 December 2016, 3:44pm
A heated public debate had ensued the topic of the emergency contraceptive after the Women's Rights Foundation filed a judicial protest
A heated public debate had ensued the topic of the emergency contraceptive after the Women's Rights Foundation filed a judicial protest
The morning-after pill is now available in pharmacies, starting today, Medicines Authority chief Anthony Serracino Inglott has confirmed.

Serracino Inglott told MaltaToday that local pharmaceutical distributor Neofarma Malta had informed the Malta Medicines Authority, which regulates it, that it had started to distribute emergency contraceptive, making Neofarma Malta the first licenced distributor to stack the shelves of pharmacies it. It is said that around 80% of pharmacies are expected to be stocking the contraceptive from this week.

According Neofarma Malta spokesperson Paul Camilleri, ellaOne was already authorised under EU law and is available as of today. Additionally, another pill, Levonelle should be available soon. The latter has been authorised by the medicines authority, Camilleri said, but they were simply waiting for the paperwork to arrive.

“We felt it was important to have the morning-after pill on the market. At the end of the day, it is not my decision,” Camilleri told MaltaToday, referring to women’s reproductive rights. “We were simply reacting to the market demands,” he added.

A heated public debate had ensued the topic of the emergency contraceptive, which many had argued was an abortifacient, after the Women’s Rights Foundation, backed by 102 women, filed a judicial protest to call for the legislation of the morning-after pill, describing it as a “fundamental right” in June.

The issue was discussed in a parliamentary debate, where Serracino Inglott had laid waste to claims that the morning-after-pill is an abortifacient, urging MPs not to engage in philosophical fallacies.
“The facts clearly state that it is not an abortifacient and it would be irresponsible for me to say otherwise,” a passionate Serracino Inglott had told MPs at a joint family, health and social affairs committee meeting.

In October, Serracino Inglott confirmed that the morning-after pill would be made available over-the-counter, going against the recommendation of members of parliament at the committees and that of the Medical Council of Malta, who had vouched that the emergency contraceptive pill could only be dispensed against a doctor’s prescription.

“The authority has always based its decisions on three things; quality, safety of patients and efficacy. By asking patients to go to doctors to get their hands on the contraceptive, you are compromising efficacy,” he had said.