London: A contraceptive pill which can be taken up to five days after unprotected sex will now be made available at pharmacies in the UK without the need for prescription, a move that has drawn concern from critics. The UK-based Co-Operative Pharmacy chain is to sell the `five-day-after pill` for 30 pounds, with no requirement for women to have had a doctor`s consultation beforehand, The Telegraph reported. Until now it has only been possible to get the pill, ellaOne with a prescription from a General Practitioner. Now, the pill will be on sale in around 40 branches in "areas of high demand" including Essex, London and Bristol, a spokesman from the company was quoted as saying. The firm said it was taking the step to offer women greater choice, but critics said it would encourage "a more casual attitude to sex" and contribute to a rise in sexually transmitted diseases, The Telegraph reported. Critics also said that ministers had originally given assurances that morning after pills would only ever be prescribed in "exceptional circumstances", but they had slowly become more widely available, the report said. Concerns were also raised that the rules would be flouted and under-18s would gain access to the pill which is thought to work by preventing ovulation and fertilisation, and by making the lining of the womb less receptive to a fertilised egg. It is significantly more effective than the most commonly used morning-after pill, Levonelle, which can be taken up to three days after intercourse, the paper said.
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