29 September 2023

Wagga women set to benefit from increased access to oral contraceptives

| Shri Gayathirie Rajen
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Person holding packets of medicine

The NSW Government’s statewide trial has more than 900 pharmacies participating in the 12-month program, making it easier than ever for thousands of women to access a resupply of the pill. Photo: iStock/Alvarez.

Seven Wagga Wagga pharmacies will participate in a 12-month trial, making it easier for local women to access a resupply of the pill.

Women of Wagga will have access to resupplies of oral contraceptives from their pharmacist as part of the second phase of the NSW Government’s statewide pharmacy prescribing trial.

Seven local pharmacies, including Kooringal Pharmacy, Soul Pattinson Turvey Park Pharmacy, South City Pharmacy Wagga Wagga, Cincottta Discount Chemist Wagga Wagga, Michael O’Reilly Pharmacy, Blooms the Chemist Sturt Mall and Blooms the Chemist Wagga Marketplace are part of 900 pharmacies that will take part in the trial.

The expanding pharmacy trial will save women time while trialling an innovative model of care, showing strong potential, especially for regional and rural areas.

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“We are embracing new and more innovative ways to ensure people can access the important medicines they need safely and timely,” Minister for Regional Health Ryan Park said.

“This initiative is not only making it easier for people to access medicines, it is also alleviating pressure on our GPs and primary care services.

“We are undertaking the necessary evaluations to ensure we get this right.”

Wagga Women’s Health Centre management committee president Vickie Burkinshaw said the health centre saw this move as a step in the right direction towards improving women’s access to basic health services.

“Removing the need to make an appointment with a GP for subsequent scripts will significantly increase the accessibility of the OCP [oral contraceptive pill] for women in regional areas,” Ms Burkinshaw said.

“Regional GPs often have extensive wait times and additional costs, and women may need to travel distances to attend.

“The trial sites being rolled out across the Riverina, and the region from Tumut and Tumbarumba to West Wyalong are fantastic. However, several LGAs [local government areas] have missed out, including Junee, Carathool, Hay, and Murrumbidgee LGAs.

“While increasing accessibility for those already prescribed the OCP is a step in the right direction, the contraceptive pill in all its forms is still not available on the PBS, meaning a significant portion of the women in our community still can’t afford access to the service.”

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Women between the ages of 18 and 35 who have been prescribed certain types of oral contraceptive pills within the past two years for contraceptive purposes can now obtain a resupply of these pills from their local participating pharmacy.

Under the trial, the only out-of-pocket costs for women seeking a resupply of their pill will be for the medication they need.

The NSW Government has also committed to providing $20 per consultation to participating pharmacists to support the administration associated with the trial.

The ethics-approved clinical trial is being led by the University of Newcastle, which works closely with a multidisciplinary team including GPs, clinicians, pharmacists, rural clinicians and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to ensure the trial is safe for women.

Follow the link for more information about the clinical trial and a list of community pharmacies participating.

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