Morning-after pill made available

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  • Kim Wilson, the Minister of Health (File photograph)

    Kim Wilson, the Minister of Health (File photograph)


The morning-after pill is to be available in pharmacies without a prescription, the Minister of Health told Parliament yesterday.

Kim Wilson, who outlined updates to pharmacy and misuse of drugs legislation, revealed that cannabidiol-containing products with less than 1 per cent tetrahydrocannabinol would also be reclassified as an over-the-counter medicine.

She said: “The drug commonly known as the morning-after pill will be made available over-the-counter.

“Currently, the substance is available only through a prescription, which limits women’s access to emergency birth control.

“This reclassification aligns with other jurisdictions like the US, Canada and the UK.”

Ms Wilson said the amendments, designed “to bring about important and overdue updates to Bermuda’s pharmaceutical drugs”, would also permit importation of CBD-containing products for medicinal purposes.

She added that this would allow for more treatment options.

Ms Wilson explained: “Currently, persons with a physician referral have been able to import CBD products by obtaining an authorisation from the Office of the Chief Medical Officer and the minister responsible for drug control.

“These requests have come, in particular, from persons

suffering with terminal illnesses.

“After some years handling the requests and doing further research and consultation, it was determined that CBD-containing products with less than 1 per cent tetrahydrocannabinol could be safely reclassified as an over-the-counter medicine rather than a controlled substance.”

Ms Wilson said this would end the burden of processing applications and remove barriers to access, based on the low level of risk attributed to the substance.

She added: “This approach is consistent with that of other jurisdictions. For example, the UK has recently classified CBD oil as a medicine.

“Accordingly, CBD with less than 1 per cent THC content will also be available over-the-counter, by a registered pharmacist in a pharmacy.”

According to Ms Wilson, more than 260 drugs were recommended for addition to the schedules during the update as well as the removal of obsolete drugs.

Ms Wilson said: “These updates include the addition of several controlled drugs that were previously unregulated and challenged the Ministry’s public health oversight.”

She added that the Ministry of Health and the Pharmacy Council had also implemented administrative practices to assist “in capturing drugs more readily and identifying needed updates going forward”.

Ms Wilson said: “The Pharmacy and Poisons Order 2017, the Misuse of Drugs Order 2017, and the Misuse of Drugs Amendment Regulations 2017 were published today and are therefore in effect.”

• To read Ms Wilson’s statement in full, click on the PDF under “Related Media”

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Published Nov 25, 2017 at 12:01 am (Updated Nov 24, 2017 at 10:17 pm)

Morning-after pill made available

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