A NEW SERVICE offers online prescriptions to women for the contraceptive pill – meaning they won’t have to go to their doctor to renew the script.
It was launched by Lloyds Online Doctor, which said that Irish women “are frustrated with the cost and inconvenience of visiting a doctor’s surgery to renew their prescription for the oral contraceptive pill”, according to its research.
Lloyds Online Doctor’s online prescription renewal for the oral contraceptive pill allows women to order a prescription for a six month course of their current pill by completing a confidential online assessment.
Within one working day an Irish registered doctor will assess the request and, assuming the necessary criteria are met, will post a prescription directly to the person’s door, which they can fulfil at a pharmacy of their choice.
Speaking to TheJournal.ie, a spokesperson from the Irish Pharmacy Union said that the supply of prescription-only medicine online or by mail order is illegal in Ireland – but supplying a prescription is not.
He said there could be a worry about a situation where “face-to-face contact with a health care professional is taken away”. “We believe there is benefit to having a full face-to-face holistic consultation with a healthcare professional,” he said.
But he added that “from a pharmacy law perspective, a legally written properly completed prescription is a legally written prescription”.
The Irish Medical Organisation’s GP Committee chair, Dr Ray Walley, told the Daily Mail today that in his opinion the service was á la carte and was ‘neither safe practice or personalised care’.
There were also concerns expressed to the paper by the Irish Parents’ Association about the fact there isn’t a physical consultation involved.
Dr Christina Hennessey, doctor and Service Development Clinician with Lloyds Online Doctor, said that women in Ireland spend up to €250 a year on oral contraception, almost half of which is spent on doctors’ fees to renew their prescription.
The Behaviour and Attitudes study found that many women viewed a charge of €40 to €70 for a repeat prescription as excessive, given the reccurring need for contraceptive.