Doctor calls for the pill to be down-scheduled

Australian teenage girls should be able to buy oral contraceptives from a pharmacy without a prescription, says a leading sexual health expert who is pushing for regulatory change.

Dr Deborah Bateson, who heads up Family Planning NSW, says pharmacy access is an approach that should be considered here as it is overseas.

Most adolescents are medically eligible for the contraceptive pill this would remove unnecessary barriers to contraceptive uptake, she says.

“The key thing to remember is that there are less contraindications at this age.”

Dr Bateson says she is not concerned that easier access to the pill would prevent teenage girls from seeking information about other contraceptive methods, such as implants and IUDs. Nor is she worried it would discourage STI testing.

“As we move to more long-acting reversible contraception and from two-yearly to five-yearly cervical