How you can get the contraceptive pill for free

How you can get the contraceptive pill for free


How can you get the contraceptive pill for free?
ANSWER: You can get all contraception, including the contraceptive pill, for free from contraception clinics, sexual health clinics (GUM), some GP surgeries, young people’s services, and pharmacies. They’ll ask you some health and lifestyle questions before you’re offered the pill to see if it’s the right option for you.
Whether you’re looking to take the contraceptive pill for contraception, to lighten your periods or to improve acne, it’s important to know all of your options. Some online pharmacies (like us!) offer the contraceptive pill through a private prescription (that you have to pay for), but you do have the convenience of having a consultation online and your medication delivered to your door.
Whichever option you choose, we’ll talk you through the available processes, the different types of pills, and whether you’re able to get the contraceptive pill if you’re under sixteen, and much more! So if you’re interested in getting the contraceptive pill and you’re eager to save those pennies, keep reading!

How to get the pill

If this is your first time getting the contraceptive pill, you’ll likely be filled with questions – where can you get the pill? Do you need a prescription? How can you buy it online? Fear not! We’ll answer your queries below.

Where to get the contraceptive pill

There are many options available to you, from popping into your GP surgery, local sexual health clinic, young people’s services or pharmacy. Some GP surgeries don’t offer a family planning service, but they should advise you on your next nearest option. Alternatively, you can look yourself by clicking here.
Oral contraceptives, or other birth control methods like the hormonal coil, will always be free on the NHS, no matter your reason for taking it. The cost of living is taking its toll on all of us, but remember – the contraceptive pill will always be free and it’s there to prevent pregnancy, so you can always stay in control of your body.

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Buying the pill online

If you’re hesitant about going in person to get your contraception, there are online options, too. You’re able to buy the contraceptive pill directly from us today, and we have a wide range of options available, from the combined contraceptive pill to the progesterone-only pill.
All you’ll need to do is fill out a quick and easy consultation and one of our prescribing pharmacists will decide whether the pill is the right option for you. 
With the amount of contraceptives available, deciding on the right method can be a tricky process, and you won't know if you’ll experience any side effects with the pill until you take it. 
If our pharmacists don’t think the contraceptive pill is right for you, you should give our guide a read. It covers a wide range of birth control options, from the vaginal ring to the contraceptive patch, helping you to find the perfect match for you, your lifestyle and your body.

I’m under 16 – do I need my parents’ permission to get the pill?

No, you don’t need your parents’ or carers’ permission to get the pill. All contraceptive services in the UK are free and confidential, including for those who are under sixteen years of age. 
If you’re under the age of sixteen, the medical professional prescribing the contraceptive pill won’t tell your parents or carer as long as they believe you understand the information you’re being given and the decisions you’re making. 
The only time they would ever tell a parent or carer would be if they were concerned for your welfare, for example, if they believed you were at risk of harm or abuse.

Do I need a prescription?

Yes, you do need a prescription for most contraceptive pills as they won’t be suitable for everyone. If you’re getting the contraceptive pill from your GP, they may ask you to come in for pill checks occasionally where they’ll measure your blood pressure, height and weight.
However, some progestogen-only pills are available over-the-counter (OTC) like Lovima and Hana. You’ll still need to answer some health-related questions before you’re able to buy them, but you won’t need a prescription from your GP or prescribing pharmacist.


Getting the contraceptive pill for free in the UK

Let’s move on to the topic you’re probably here for: getting the contraceptive pill for free here in the UK. As we’ve covered already, all forms of birth control are free if you get them through any NHS services, like your GP, sexual health clinic or pharmacy. 

How much does the pill cost from the pharmacy?

Your contraceptive pill will be free from the pharmacy, providing you’re picking up an NHS prescription. Private prescriptions are a service many local and online pharmacies offer for a fee, which can be handy if you’re unable to get an appointment with your GP.


Different types of contraceptive pill

When used correctly, (meaning you don’t forget to take a pill or you don’t have a bout of vomiting or diarrhoea that can reduce the pill’s effectiveness) the pill is over 99% effective in preventing pregnancy. It won’t stop those unwanted STIs, though! Only condoms offer full protection against pregnancy and STIs.

The mini pill or progestogen only pill

As its name suggests, the progestogen-only pill or ‘mini pill’ contains just progestogen, unlike the combined pill which also contains oestrogen. Good news – you can get some versions of this pill over-the-counter.
It’s the ideal option if you’re unable to take birth control containing oestrogen or you’re over the age of 35 and smoke. However, you won’t be able to control your periods in the same way as the combined pill and side effects like acne might be more likely. 

The combined pill

You might recognise the combined pill by some of its brand names: Yasmin, Microgynon, and Rigevidon. This type of pill is typically given to manage breakouts due to it containing the hormone oestrogen.
The combined pill contains artificial versions of female hormones (oestrogen and progesterone) that the ovaries produce naturally. These work together by thickening the mucus in the neck of the womb and thinning the lining of the womb so it’s difficult for sperm to reach the egg.

Now you know the different ways you can access the contraceptive pill – whether it’s a local NHS service like your GP or sexual health clinic, or from a reliable online pharmacy such as ourselves, who can deliver your medicine straight to your door.
We hope this guide has provided you with all of the information you need about how you can get the contraceptive pill for free, but if you need further insight about the contraceptive pill or other methods of birth control, visit the NHS website.

Alexandra Moses - Medical Content Writer
James O'Loan - CEO & Superintendent Pharmacist
James O'Loan , CEO & Superintendent Pharmacist on 11 October 2022
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