§ Mrs. Ann Winterton
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what information she has about the likely incidence of complications and death arising from the use of the morning-after pill; what plans she has to allow such pills to be available over the counter rather than on prescription; and if she will make a statement.
§ Mr. Sackville
The emergency contraception pill is a combined oral contraceptive which contains higher doses of hormones than many oral contraceptive pills. It is used for only a short duration of time and doctors are advised not to prescribe it to women who may be at risk of thromboembolic disorders. No reports of deaths associated with the use of this product have been received by the Committee on Safety of Medicines and information on precautions and side-effects is contained in the product particulars authorised by the Medicines Control Agency.
Applications for medicinal products to be reclassified to allow supply without prescription are normally made to the Medicines Control Agency by the company holding the licence for that product. Any change would be subject to advice from the relevant Medicines Act committee and the results of statutory consultation with all interested organisations.