Some pharmacists refuse to sell Morning After Pill – 60 sold in two weeks

Within a space of two weeks, around 60 packets of morning after pills have been sold from local pharmacies. This emergency contraceptive is being sold in around 200 pharmacies…however some pharmacies have chosen not to sell it because it goes against their conscience as they feel it may be abortive. From studies carried out by  Television Malta it appears that the demand for the MAP is higher at pharmacies located in tourist areas.

In the first two weeks since it entered the market, there were around 60 clients who bought the pill which started being sold in Malta after considerable controversy, with the Medicines Authority authorising the sale of the bill from pharmacies without the need of a doctor’s prescription.

However, the controversy continues as a number of pharmacists have decided not to sell it because they are conscientious objectors. Among these is pharmacist Marisa Dalli, who confirmed that she has been asked for the pill.

“I’m very aware that in all this there is a third person involved, so I’m not at the service of the person in front of me but of that person that may be there, whom we may not be aware of. So instead of doing something which is for the best I am causing harm, and that is why I object to selling the morning-after pill”, said the pharmacist.  She added that when she is asked, she does indicate where the customer may buy it from, but that is as far as she goes.

The Chairman of the Medicines Authority, Professor Anthony Serracino Inglott said that from information he has, the majority of pharmacies are selling the morning after pill.

“It can be found in 80% of pharmacies, and there are around 250 pharmacies”, said Prof. Serracino Inglott.

He added that these pharmacies are stocking around 300 packets of the morning-after pill EllaOne, which is the only brand of emergency contraceptive which has been authorized to be sold in Malta.

The Medicines Authority has published guidelines on its website about emergency contraceptives.  Prof. Serracino Inglott explained that these include a reminder to pharmacists to ensure that they follow their professional code of ethics.

“As with ever other medicine, the pharmacist acts according to his or her conscience, according to professional ethics and takes a decision which they feel is in the best interest of the patient..for example, they may advise that one should see a doctor or other health professional or even visit another pharmacy,” said Prof. Serracino Inglott.

Prof. Serracino Inglott said that the Medicines Authority is processing a number of applications from other agents who wish to register to import other brands of the morning-after pill.