Home and Away star slams pharmacy on EC

21198572 - birth control pill, contraceptive pills, vitamin pill, pills for better digestion or pills against menstrual pain. woman holding white tablet in front of stomach. close up.

A former soap star has written a blog complaining about her treatment in a pharmacy when attempting to obtain emergency contraception

Writer and former Home and Away actor Christie Hayes wrote on the popular parenting and women’s site Mamamia that after she and her husband had a mishap with a condom – “as we all know, they aren’t always gonna work” – she asked him to go to the pharmacy to get her EC the next day while she stayed at home with their children.

“He wasn’t allowed to,” she wrote. “They wouldn’t sell it to him. I’m sure any woman in Australia who has asked her husband/partner to buy this for them was met with the same amount of frustration and outrage I was.

“So, let me get this straight: we drill into men that it’s their job to be as responsible as a woman when it comes to safe sex. For instance, to always carry and use a condom in order to prevent an unwanted pregnancy.

“Yet when it comes to being responsible AFTER sex, the blame lies solely with a woman?

“All I could think was that it must be because a pharmacist had to disclose information to me personally; a duty of care. There was no other logical reason. Right? Wrong.”

The next day Hayes presented to the pharmacy again for EC, 48 hours after the contraceptive mishap.

“I had a feeling the tone of the interaction might change, but I decided to give the pharmacist the benefit of the doubt,” she wrote.

“I mean, not everyone lives in this judgmental ridiculous notion that women don’t have the right to emergency contraception should there be concerns about conceiving? Wrong again.”


Sunday turning on the ?

A photo posted by C H R I S T I E (@christiehayes_) on

“The pharmacist cheerfully asked me how I was, to which I cheerfully replied I was great thanks, albeit freezing, and I needed to buy the emergency contraception please. I deliberately used those words too. I wanted to keep in perspective what I was purchasing.

“Well, didn’t that tune change. She walked away to another woman, started whispering, “She needs the morning after pill” and as they both stood there hush hush-ing, I was seriously close to pointing out to them that it wasn’t a library, they didn’t need to whisper.”

Hayes says she was not asked any questions about whether she had used EC before, whether the medication was for her, when her last period was, or advised on adverse events such as ectopic pregnancy.

“On that note, anybody can walk into a pharmacy and purchase a massive packet of Panadol with the intention of suiciding,” she wrote.

“A lot of over-the-counter medications used incorrectly can cause fatality, that’s what medicine is. So once more, I’m not sure of the reasoning a man cannot buy the morning after pill. As established, any girl can, and she can give it to any girl to use instead.

“In a nutshell, all that was passed on with a judgmental smile was this: ‘It’s just one tablet and you drink it with lots of water. It’s best consumed within 12 hours of the unprotected sex’.”

At the time of writing the article had attracted dozens of comments, including from readers who say they are pharmacists.

“As a pharmacist I can tell you it is technically illegal for the pharmacist to physically hand the ‘pharmacist only’ medication to someone other than the person who intends to use it, let alone the minefield with which handing out the emergency contraception pill to a partner entails,” wrote Ashley Durrant.

“Please stop telling us how to carry out our professional duties, and respect the fact that we do our jobs will the sole purpose of caring for, and doing the best by our patients and community.”

“I am unsure as to the circumstances but supplying this medication to your husband would usually have been appropriate,” a reader called Consultant Pharmacist wrote in the article’s comment section.

“Levonorgestrel has good evidence for effectiveness up to five days after intercourse. Antibiotics will not affect its effectiveness and I am doubtful there is any causal relationship with ectopic pregnancy (package inserts tend to emphasize any events that might lead to litigation against the drug company however spurious).

“The main problems with inappropriate supply of this medication are in circumstances where the patient is appropriately covered by contraception and does not require it. Not sure if the pharmacist assessed this.

“I am sorry about your experience. Women should have ready access to this important medication in a professional, non-judgemental interaction.”

On Twitter, pharmacist John Cook said Hayes’ story was worth discussing further in pharmacy.


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  1. amanda cronin

    I think one big thing from this is our perception in the public- people feel if something is over the counter they should have a right to buy it without question. I can’t see any role continued prescribing while this attitude remains.
    THe vitriol from pharmacist especially from nurses on that blog was OTT ( see their Facebook page) and also the wide variety of beliefs and inappropriate counselling from pharmacists and nurses. Several commented on clotting risk which is not even an issue with this type of contraceptive.

    The reality is many pharmacists are doing a crap job in their 2 dollar shop pharmacy model. We are not seen as professional anymore buy as busy bodies policing their right to use what ever medication they want.

    I also can’t help but wonder if this storm was whipped up at the same time a new morning after pill is be down scheduled from s4 to s3.

  2. Jarrod McMaugh

    I think that she had a right to complain about the process. If the description of the two interactions are accurate, then they were both handled poorly.

    In the first instance, there is no reason a pharmacist cannot ring the intended patient and discuss with them the clinical details. This is very straight forward and I have done in on numerous occasions. In fact, the only time when I have not supplied to a third party is when they have been unable or unwilling to allow me to contact the patient… and in these situations I still counselled the person who had presented with the request on the issues that were preventing supply, and timing.

    In the second instance, it would seem that a non-pharmacist staff was the first point of call, but again, it would seem that information had been supplied that would have lead to a referral for a different medication that is effective past 72 hours, and that counselling should have been modified to the situation, not rote repeated based on a script.

    In both cases, it would seem that the pharmacists did not apply their skills or clinical knowledge – they just reacted to a curve ball that they’ve not seen before and froze up. It’s not good enough. Pharmacists need to be able to see past a situation like this and apply their clinical and forensic knowledge to the outcome (even if this still ends with no supply).

    Pharmacists shouldn’t send anyone away without some path to a solution. If a medication requested cannot be supplied for whatever reason, the patient should have a clear idea of what they need to do next, in all situations.

  3. David Haworth

    As Jarrod said, handled poorly and NOT by the pharmacist. The phone call option should have been used. The guy was lucky he did not strike the other type of pharmacy where the woman has to go to a counselling room and fill out detailed forms. A confidential conversation is all that’s required to sell the EC and all that should be necessary.And the Postinor type drugs can have an effect up to 5 days . No EC is 100% guaranteed. The pharmacist who call for expanding pharmacists prescribing rights should be aware that poor operators abound.

  4. APharmacist

    At university we were taught to always only supply the emergency contraceptive to the woman wishing to use it because of the risk of sexual abuse in the community. As in male patients may be dosing woman unknowingly or without their consent to cover-up sexual abuse.

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