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02nd Mar 2020

There’s a new click & collect service for the morning after pill launching in Ireland

Leslie Ann Horgan

The service will be available across four counties to begin with.

A new click & collect service is being launched for the morning after pill in Ireland. The McCabes Pharmacy group and morning after pill brand ellaOne have teamed up to make the service available to Irish women for the first time.

Yes it’s 2020 and we’re a bunch of wholly liberated women, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that we want to air our health matters over the counter in a busy store. And there are still some of us who would rather be swallowed up by the ground than talk about our sex lives with a complete stranger, even if they are a medical professional.

There should be no stigma about having unprotected sex or a contraception failure, but for those of us who would prefer to access follow-up care discreetly, then this new service is a god-send.

The emergency contraceptive will initially be available for click & collect ordering at nine McCabes locations across Dublin, Limerick, Louth and Wexford.

Women who want to obtain the morning after pill will simply fill out an online form on the McCabes website, which the pharmacists then use to assess their suitability before they complete their purchase. Successful orders can then be collected in-store, after a discreet face-to-face conversation with the pharmacist.

After that, the rest is also easy – ellaOne consists of a single pill that must be taken as soon as possible, and no more than 120 hours after unprotected sex or contraception failure.

According to research by ellaOne, 44 percent of Irish women aged between 18-35 had engaged in unprotected sex in the last year but of those only 26 percent took the morning after pill. Some 71 percent of the 1,000 women surveyed said they’d be more likely to use the morning after pill if they could order it online.

Brand manager Emma Marsh says that women in Ireland do still feel a stigma regarding taking the morning after pill.

“Our extensive research to date shows that Irish women continue to feel that there’s a stigma associated with taking the morning after pill and we want to change this narrative. Many have chosen not to take it after unprotected sex, risking an unplanned pregnancy, as they are too embarrassed to go into a pharmacy. The ambition for this new Click & Collect service is that it represents a progressive next step in removing barriers for women and it is our hope that more will follow.”

McCabes superintendent pharmacist Lisa Byrne says that women will also access accurate information through the service – something that can be tough when searching widely online.

“We’re very aware that there is a lot of misinformation and myths about the morning after pill online. The Click & Collect service is an innovative way for us to reach out to women who are searching for information online after unprotected sex and who otherwise may risk an unplanned pregnancy by not presenting in pharmacy to purchase emergency contraception.”