Until now, women needed a prescription to get the pill.
The change was cleared for two types of progesterone alone, called ‘mini pills’, as they were reclassified by the UK medicines regulator.
Hana and Lovima tablets have been found to be safe for most women.
Buyers will still need to consult a pharmacist before being sold the tablets, which cost as little as £ 7.50 for a month’s supply.
Pharmacist Bina Mehta told Sky News: “This is a turning point in the history of women’s health. Since the birth of the contraceptive pill more than 60 years ago, if a woman wanted to obtain a contraceptive drug, she had to make an appointment with a general practitioner. Now it’s so much more accessible.
“I think there is going to be a great demand for this. You don’t need to make an appointment. “
Birth control pills have been available over the counter overseas for many years. Ms Mehta says the reason it’s taken so long in Britain is to make sure the risk of side effects is very low.
“I think it’s because we just want to make sure it’s very safe. Coming out of the prescription drug only license means that we have to look at the safety profile of the drug and this drug is now available and has been very popular for over 30 years with a good safety profile ”, a- she declared.
Combination birth control pills that also contain estrogen and may have more serious side effects will always require a prescription.
Lauren Dyer, 34, of Tamworth in Staffordshire, developed two blood clots in her lungs after taking a combination pill and was left seriously ill in hospital.
She believes that women should consult a doctor before taking any type of birth control pill.
“If you are considering taking a contraceptive – it is any type of contraception – this should be discussed with your GP as this should be done on a case-by-case basis to make sure that any symptoms or side effects that you may have. get any birth control discussed with you.
When the Medicines and Health Products Regulatory Agency announced the change from progesterone-only pills containing desogestrel, the synthetic progesterone, earlier this month, its chief executive, Dr June Raine, said that it was “good news for women and families.”
She said: “Pharmacists have the expertise to counsel women on whether desogestrel is an appropriate and safe oral contraceptive pill to use and to give women the information they need to make informed choices.
“We consulted with a wide range of people to help us make the decision to make this contraceptive available for the first time in the UK without a prescription. We received many responses to our consultation, the majority of which supported this approach. “
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Dr Edward Morris, President of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, described the announcement as a “huge victory for women and girls” who will no longer face unnecessary barriers in accessing contraception.
He added: “Even before the pandemic, too many women and girls struggled to access basic health services for women.
“The consequences of this include an increase in the number of unplanned pregnancies, which can lead to poorer outcomes for women and their babies. ”