Yes, You Can Buy Emergency Contraception For Someone Else

Yes, You Can Buy Emergency Contraception For Someone Else

Some of the people who need emergency contraception the most are the people who might be the most embarrassed (or have the hardest time) going and buying it themselves. What you might not realise: since it’s over the counter, you — as a friend, partner, or parent — can do that person a favour and buy it for them.

Photo by 12th Street David.

Emergency contraception is what you need if you were having penis-in-vagina sex and your regular birth control method failed (or if you weren’t using any, but suddenly realise you should have been). That includes a broken condom, a missed pill or planning to pull out and not actually pulling out. People who have been sexually assaulted may also find themselves in need of emergency contraception (not to mention other forms of help — so don’t forget that you can get help here from 1800 Respect, the National Sexual Assault Domestic Family Violence Counselling Service and other resources listed at Reach Out).

In any of those cases, the person who needs emergency contraception might not be up for an immediate outing to the pharmacy. Or they might be embarrassed to be seen with their purchase — for example, if they’re a teen and don’t want their parents to know. There is also a nasty trend of drugstore shaming, where people have reported that pharmacists make them feel uncomfortable when picking up medications like birth control.

This is where you, as a brave friend, can come in. Levonorgestrel pills are legally available over-the-counter to anyone. There is no age limit, and you don’t have to be a woman. So if someone in your life faces shame or trouble in getting emergency contraception, you can be a hero and save them a trip to the pharmacy.

Women are Buying Plan B for Other Women to Fight Pharmacy Slut Shaming [Connections.Mic]


  • Yeah, only that’s not quite true in Australia. In order to supply this, the pharmacist needs to establish therapeutic need, and to ensure the product won’t be misused. It is a sad fact that if this practice were to go unchallenged, partners could obtain the medicine and force the woman to take it.

    Yes, you can get your friend to front up to the pharmacy, but expect that the best case scenario is the pharmacist will want to speak to you directly over the phone in order to provide appropriate advice and counselling before selling the medicine to your friend.

  • I got a peculiar look once from the lady at the chemist.

    It just happened to work out that it was easier for me to go into the chemist to get the pill and for the girl I’d just shagged to get some post-coital Maccas nearby.

    Nonetheless, I got the pill, got my burger and got some more furbuger 🙂

  • I am a pharmacist in NSW. Legally we can supply it to the partner or friend, however we also have to practice in our best interests and legally we are also allowed to refuse supply of any medication if we think it will cause harm or is not suitable to the person. Reasons why we are afraid of supplying to a partner, for example, is that we suspect it could be assault or the girl could have medical conditions that the partner/friend doesn’t know about that can make the pill harmful (e.g. Risk of clot or history of breast cancer). The pill, although very effective, is not a medication to take lightly. It needs specific education regarding side effects and possibility of pregnancy that is best relayed to the girl herself. These are the reasons why I’d be much more comfortable if the girl is present in the pharmacy.

  • As a pharmacist, my goal is to provide medical care and not to shame anyone. This is a very irresponsible article that undermines what should be a open and healthy consultation on this medication with the person who needs to hear it most. This medication can also be abused by both men and women in various ways so you can imagine why a professional pharmacist wouldn’t feel comfortable just handing it over to you to give it to your mate.

  • Hello. I appreciate that pharmacists need to establish therapeutic need… but how is this different from any other drug that can be bought without a prescription? I can buy any other non-prescription medicine over the counter for my girlfriend and have a straightforward conversation about contraindications and risks (which are described on the packet anyway) with the pharmacist on her behalf. Does the plan B pill pose much higher risks? If so why isn’t it a prescription medication? Or are these extra barriers in place for other reasons? Grateful if pharmacists and other professionals could clarify the real reasons for this special treatment.

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