Getting emergency contraception from a pharmacy

No matter how old you are, you can go to a pharmacy and ask for emergency contraception. 

The pharmacist will usually ask you a number of questions. This is to make sure it is a good idea for you to take emergency contraception. 

Pharmacists do this for all kinds of medicines, not just emergency contraception. 

If the pharmacist decides not to sell you emergency contraception for reasons other than your safety they must send you to someone who will.   

Questions a pharmacist will normally ask you 

The pharmacist will usually ask you questions about:

  • your usual means of contraception
  • why you need emergency contraception
  • the number of hours since you last had unprotected sex
  • information about your period
  • whether you have had a pregnancy test recently
  • medical conditions such as unexplained vaginal bleeding or Crohn’s disease
  • other medicines you are taking. Including prescribed, over-the-counter, from a supermarket or health food shop
  • health symptoms such as burning or pain when passing urine, lower abdominal pain, pain during or after sex, unusual vaginal discharge, irregular vaginal bleeding or spotting.

This information helps the pharmacist to decide if emergency contraception is safe and suitable for you. 

Questions that a pharmacist is not allowed to ask you

A pharmacist should not ask you the following: 

  • Who are you having sex with?
  • Do your parents know you’re having sex?
  • Do you know that this is an abortion?
  • What is your religion?

These questions have nothing to do with whether emergency contraception is safe for you. 

Your privacy

When you give information to a health professional, they are legally required to protect your privacy. This is an important part of being able to trust your health professional to look after you. 

Information you give them can only be used, stored and shared in accordance with the law. For example, a pharmacist can’t give information about you to your mum, cousin or any other relative, your friends, school teacher or neighbour. 

There are serious penalties for health professionals who break this law. In Victoria, you can contact the Health Services Commissioner if you have concerns about a health professional’s use of your health information.

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Disclaimer

The Women’s does not accept any liability to any person for the information or advice (or use of such information or advice) which is provided on the Website or incorporated into it by reference. The Women’s provide this information on the understanding that all persons accessing it take responsibility for assessing its relevance and accuracy. Women are encouraged to discuss their health needs with a health practitioner. If you have concerns about your health, you should seek advice from your health care provider or if you require urgent care you should go to the nearest Emergency Dept.

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