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Women should be able to obtain the progestogen-only pill from a pharmacist without a prescription
  1. Emily Mary Whitaker
  1. Global Health Policy Unit, The University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK
  1. Correspondence to Emily Mary Whitaker, The University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK; emilymarywhitaker{at}

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Within the UK, a pharmacist consultation is mandatory to obtain emergency contraception (EC) and over half of all EC is provided by a pharmacist.1 More can and should be done to use this contact point to prevent unintended pregnancies and encourage uptake of long-acting reversible contraception (LARC). The Bridge-It study – a trial to determine whether provision of a 3-month supply of the progestogen-only pill (POP) at the time of obtaining EC resulted in higher uptake of an effective contraceptive – was associated with a 20% increase in use of an effective form of contraception, compared with only providing EC.2

Bridging – the idea of giving a woman a temporary but effective method of contraception that she can start immediately after using EC – gives women time to schedule an appointment to establish and transition to long-term contraception that will cater to their needs. Unless an effective form of contraception is begun following use of EC, risk of pregnancy remains.2 Women who engage in unprotected sex following use of EC are also three times more likely …

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  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests EMW was a Public and Patient Involvement (PPI) representative for the Bridge-It trial.

  • Patient and public involvement Patients and/or the public were not involved in the design, or conduct, or reporting, or dissemination plans of this research.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.