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

People will be able to obtain these contraceptive pills following a consultation with a pharmacist
People will be able to obtain these contraceptive pills following a consultation with a pharmacist

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.

What do you make of this announcement?

Mr CAUSTIC, Community pharmacist

According to literature from maxwellia the trade cost of lovima ex vat is £14.28 for 28 or £28.56 for 84 . I am not very good with figures so i cannot work out the £10 per month figure above . Please help me with the calculation  someone . It is a new company so perhaps they use new advanced computer programs to calculate things .

Getting Shorter, Community pharmacist

Reading through the bumph that's just come through, there's a bit about refering anyone who developes depression etc to their GP, and it occurs to me... there's really only two markets I can seriously see for this, given that it's free from the GP:

(Young?) girls too embarrassed to go to their GP... but it'll be somewhat embarrassing in a pharmacy, too, and it's a chunk out of pocket money.

 People actively avoiding their GP - either avoiding (can't be bothered with) regular check-ups, or who have been told "no, you can't have that" by the doctor with the benefit of their full medical history.


Either way, c. £2 is not nearly enough for the effort involved (not to mention that my pharmacy is in a fairly deprived area where a standard response to any request for payment for anything is "don't worry, I'll get it free from the doctors")... we will be another pharmacy not stocking this... sadly yet another unwanted, unnecessary, "not-supported-by-pharmacy" POM-to-P switch.

Chemical Mistry, Information Technology

There is reasons why Gp have checks in place for repeat prescription for contraceptives be interesting if sold and customer went on to have PE without proper checks done ?

Adam Hall, Community pharmacist

There are a number of issuesthat I perceive with this:

Safety - but 'everyone' would have appeared to have deemed the OTC supply as safe (can't wait to find what hoops we & the patient have to jump through)

Profitability - why would we stock something that gives us no margin?

Cost to patient - free via NHS, so why will someone pay £10 for a months supply?

I do hope there are some deals from the manufacturer to sweeten this for us

PARESH shah, Community pharmacist

Surely now is the time to introduce a consultation charge for all new switches since we will only have a derisory margin of say 30% . There is no RRP so I am not sure why companies still put a retail price on everything. The only good thing will be that when women have run out of meds we can sell this or even better, do an emergeny supply sale with generic product at , say £9.00 for 28.

V K P, Community pharmacist

safe supply would be a major concern, so will be the viability of the sale. At £10 what margin will the pharmacy make considering that a consultation will be required with the pharmacist for the supply. even a rare CPCS garners £14 where as the 5p expensive Maxwellia does not even cost £14. Hence we are being pushed down the path of free work again. Not intending to stock them.

Ex Pharmacist, Community pharmacist

This is unsafe and seriously messed up. You will get some serious problems from overuse of pills without regular checks.

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