Until the beginning of 2015, Germany was one of the few countries in Europe where the "morning after pill" was only available by prescription - although the "Committee of Experts on Prescription", which advised the Federal Ministry of Health, had been preparing for the release from prescription since 2003. The proponents of over-the-counter dispensing by pharmacists also included Pro Familia and the German Society for Gynecology and Obstetrics (DGGG); the professional association of gynecologists (BVF) refused a prescription freedom.
Pill then as a trigger of discussions
Opponents fear that the now easier access could lead to neglecting long-term contraception. Advocates, on the other hand, point to figures from neighboring countries such as England, France, Sweden and Switzerland, where the "pill thereafter" has been available for a long time without a prescription, without reducing the use of other, "normal" contraceptives.
Another argument against over-the-counter delivery is that it eliminates the need for medical advice, and then potentially many women take the drug unnecessarily. It is countered that the "morning after pill" should not be given completely without advice, only then the advice is given by the pharmacists. And when it comes to clarifying whether the prevention is now appropriate or not, both the doctor and the pharmacist will have to rely on the assessment of the woman concerned.
Pill on prescription or not?
In addition, the pill is thereafter the more effective the sooner it is taken - eliminates the visit to the doctor (especially on weekends often a costly endeavor), the timely intake is rather guaranteed. Advocates also see the OTC post-pill delivery as a way to reduce the increase in teenage abortions.
In addition, it facilitates access to emergency contraception for women in very rural areas or for women, for whom the doctor's visit represents an insurmountable barrier. Experiences from Sweden support this argumentation - there the number of the abortions with the over-the-counter delivery of the "pill after" actually decreased.
Pill afterwards as contraception in an emergency
Whether over-the-counter or not: The "morning after pill" is an emergency contraception and should be considered and used as such. If it is taken more than once in the menstrual cycle, it comes to severe bleeding and the cycle is completely confused. In addition, efficacy decreases when taken frequently in succession. If you are more often faced with the problem of having to resort to the "morning after pill", you should contact your gynecologist urgently and seek advice on the possibilities of effective long-term contraception suitable for you.