A report has revealed that the morning after pill costs up to five times more for women in Britain than other areas of Europe.
Research from the European Consortium for Emergency Contraception found that the pill can be bought for as little as £5.50 in France. But it costs as much as £31.60 when purchased from pharmacies in Britain.
While it might cost an arm and a leg to buy it from your local pharmacy, there are ways - thanks to the NHS - to access the morning after pill (and other forms of emergency contraception) for free.
You just need to head to right place.
Discussing the availability of the morning after pill, a spokesperson for sexual health charity FPA told The Huffington Post UK: "We know that for lots of women, being able to walk into a high street pharmacy is the most convenient option.
"But it should never be the case that someone has restricted access to contraception because they can’t afford it. We believe emergency contraception should be free in all settings."
While it isn't free everywhere, there are a number of health centres and clinics which offer pills such as Levonelle and EllaOne free of charge.
Levonelle is a pill which works by stopping or delaying ovulation.
It can be taken within 72 hours (or three days) of having unprotected sex. However it's most effective when taken within 12 hours of sex.
According to NHS Choices, you can get hold of Levonelle, free of charge, from the following places:
- Contraception clinics
- Most sexual health clinics (or GUM clinics)
- Most NHS walk-in centres in England
- Most NHS minor injuries units
- Most GP surgeries
- Brook centres
- Some pharmacies
EllaOne is a pill which stops or delays ovulation. It is suitable for any woman of childbearing age, including adolescents.
The pill can be taken within 120 hours (or five days) of having unprotected sex, however it's more effective if you take it as soon as possible after having sex.
You can get EllaOne for free with a prescription from your GP.
If you have liver disease, severe asthma or take certain prescribed medicines or complementary medicines, an emergency IUD may be a preferred option.
Not many people know that in addition to the morning after pill, you can also rely on emergency contraception in the form of an IUD.
This is a small plastic and copper device that is fitted in your uterus up to five days (120 hours) after unprotected sex or within five days of the earliest time you could have released an egg.
It takes about 15–20 minutes to fit and is available to most women.
For more information about having an emergency IUD fitted, speak to your GP.
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