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PJ Online | PJ Letters: Emergency hormonal contraception (EHC)

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The Pharmaceutical Journal
Vol 269 No 7213 p278-281
31 August 2002

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Emergency hormonal contraception (EHC)

Understandable misconception

Should advice be broader than just health issues?

Understandable misconception

From Mr M. K. Atkinson, MRPharmS

Having read Penny Beck's reply to the Manchester EHC scheme's founder project managers (PJ, 24 August, p247) I feel unusually moved to add comment. Was this the Tesco store that was reported in the south of England via national media as providing the "morning after pill" free of charge?

Assuming that my memory and understanding are not defective, was the reporting an unexpected consequence of a publicised Tesco health care promotion or a misunderstanding by press and radio of what patient group directions are?

I am surprised that Ms Beck considers that the disproportionate focus on one retailer and the widely held public misconception that Tesco was solely responsible for the pilot schemes is anything but completely understandable.

Martin Atkinson
New Milton, Hampshire

Should advice be broader than just health issues?

From Mr B. Shooter, MRPharmS

Last term while I was teaching one of the pharmacy practice groups at the School of Pharmacy, University of London, one of the students suggested that an imaginary 15-year-old friend of his family should be advised, on receiving EHC from him, that if she continued "in this manner" she would undoubtedly bring disgrace on herself, on her family and on her community and that "she should desist from it forthwith".

I suggested that some initial compliance advice would be more appropriate and that pharmacists were health care professionals and should not apply their own moral values when counselling patients. A robust debate then ensued.

I have now had time to reflect on what the student said. I wonder if pharmacists have stood back from offering advice on moral issues for long enough.

Should our advice to patients now be broader than just on health related issues?

 Barry Shooter
Romford, Essex

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