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MHRA approves 2 POM to P progestogen-only contraceptive pill switches

Desogestrel contraceptive pills Lovima and Hana will both be available from pharmacies from the end of July, after the MHRA approved their reclassification from POMs to P meds.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) authorised the switch of both medicines today (July 8), following a three-week consultation it ran at the beginning of the year.

Following their reclassification, people will be able to purchase Lovima and Hana 75 microgram film-coated tablets without a prescription for the first time in the UK, after a consultation with a pharmacist.

"Around £10" for 28 pills

Lovima — a daily progestogen-only pill manufactured by Maxwellia — will retail at “around £10 per month” and will be available in packs of 28 and 84 pills, Maxwellia said.

HRA Pharma’s Hana will retail at £9.95 for a one-month pack (28 pills) and £21.95 for its three-month version (84 pills).

Maxwellia deemed the switch a “momentous” step that will “enable pharmacists to broaden their frontline role” in assisting patients with more sexual health services.

Founder and CEO Anna Maxwell said the “decision has allowed us to liberate this pill for thousands of [people]”.

While HRA Pharma said: “This milestone moment will make it more convenient for [people] to access and use regular oral contraception, as they won’t need to book a GP appointment. It also recognises the growing role pharmacy has in the provision of contraception.”

Pharmacy teams will be supported with “comprehensive” training and education materials ahead of the pills’ launch, both companies said.

Stakeholders support, but C+D readers split

At the time of the consultation, the Company Chemists' Association (CCA) Professional Practice Group – which responded on behalf of the large multiples and supermarket pharmacies – told C+D it was supportive of plans to make more sexual health services available through community pharmacy.

In a poll published in March, C+D readers were split as to whether Lovima and Hana should switch from prescription-only medicine (POM) to a pharmacy (P) medicine.

What makes a successful POM to P change? Listen to the podcast below with Anna Maxwell, CEO of Maxwellia, to find out.

Follow C+D’s podcasts by searching “Chemist+Druggist podcast” on your preferred app or on Soundcloud.

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