Sunday 19th May 2024

Should we still be paying for the contraceptive pill?


The contraceptive pill arrived in the UK in 1957. It was initially introduced to ease ‘female disorders’, and was made accessible to all women in 1960. The pill has so far done wonders for women; allowing them choice, liberation, and control. Today, 55.5% of women use the contraceptive pill, not only to prevent pregnancy, but also to regulate periods, ease menstrual disorders, improve acne, among other things.

Living in Wales provides you with access to free prescriptions – this includes the contraceptive pill. I have been lucky enough to live in Wales for over 20 years. Even when I left my family home at 18 and headed out to university, I moved to Cardiff and so was able to enjoy the continued luxury of free prescriptions and free contraceptive pills. However, when I finished university about six months ago, and relocated to England, I left this free prescription bubble.

Living in Wales provides you access to free prescriptions – this includes free access to the contraceptive pill.

So, it wasn’t until recently that I have had to think at all about financing the contraceptive pill and, having moved house and started a new job, I’ve had little time to think about my health, period (no pun intended). Working eight until five each day, with an hour commute either side, and with the local GP not opening outside of my office working hours, I haven’t yet found time to go and register. This was not really an issue until recently, when I found myself running low on the pill.

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What was I supposed to do? Put my life on hold? Suffer the side effects of not taking it? Neither was an option for me, so I had to look elsewhere for a solution. Having been abroad a couple of years ago, when I required malaria tablets I was directed to Superdrug’s online doctor where their pharmacy section enables you to have an online consultation. Following a successful consultation, said medication can then be issued to you. In fact, it can be delivered to your door! What more could you ask for?

Why do women continually have to fork out just because we are women?

The only downside to this convenient option, is its hefty price tag. At the doctors, a prescription generally costs £8. However, if you do not have time to go down this avenue (as I didn’t), Superdrug is a good alternative – if you can stomach the tummy churning £35 price tag for a six month pill prescription! So, it brings us back to the time old debate (also discussed by Rosie and Maddy) – although there are solutions to aid us in our ever-busy, ever-hectic lives, why do women continually have to fork out just because we are women? Be it £8 or £35, should we still be paying for the contraceptive pill?

Cait Armstrong

Mouthy blogger

Recent Cardiff grad, undeniable tea lover, avid daydreamer and aspiring lawyer.

  1. Yikes! I thought that prescription charges were wavered for contraception! I’m lucky that I still have 4 months left. Could you not call up your surgery and request it be sent to the pharmacy for your collection?

  2. Contraception (inc the pill) is 100% free on the NHS in England. Might be different if you have moved from Wales though…

  3. I recently signed up to the doctors after being off work ill. The response from my doctors was that I need to be reassessed (due to signing up to the new GP as she wasn’t happy in just re-issuing the pill based on another doctors recommendations) and I should make another appointment. However working full time and commuting an hour each way means I’d have to have another day off work (which I just can’t afford to do!). However following this assessment I would still have to pay the £8 prescription charge as I’m originally a resident from Wales. Catch 22 all over again! So SuperDrug Pharmacy will be the way forward for me for the foreseeable future.

  4. “Why do women continually have to fork out just because we are women?” first of all, what a crock; the pill is free in the whole of the UK. Condoms can even be free but in most cases they’re paid for so the real question should be “Why do men continually have to fork out just because we are men?” Of course, this wouldn’t fit in with the feminazi way of thinking and doesn’t even cross your mind. “The pill hasn’t given you freedom, liberation, control” it’s given you weight gain, bad skin, cancer, blood clots and still doesn’t work 100 percent of the time.

  5. Why not?

    You expect me to pay for it?

    I am a man will you be paying for me to have a womb so were are equal?

    I doubt it!

  6. I think it’s ridiculous that the pill is free at all? Why should the NHS money; of which there isn’t enough to go around anyway, be spent on providing drugs which many would be able to afford (those who currently pay for there usual prescriptions) would 8£ twice a ear really cause you that much hardship….imagine what better uses that money could be put to, why should the NHS be responsible for your sexual health. People need to start taking responsibility for themselves and their own health needs before being a further drain on the NHS!

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