Morning-After-Pill To Be Available Over Counter

November 24, 2017 | 22 Comments

The morning-after-pill will be made available over-the-counter, and CBD with less than 1% THC content will also be available over-the-counter, Minister of Health Kim Wilson said in the House of Assembly today [Nov 24].

The Minister explained that the Government will be laying amendments to the pharmacy and misuse of drugs legislation to “bring about important and overdue updates to Bermuda’s pharmaceutical drugs.”

“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,” the Minister said.

“This re-classification aligns with other jurisdictions like the US, Canada and the UK.

“The updates will now permit the importation of Cannabidiol [CBD]-containing products for medicinal purposes to allow more options for treatment.

“Currently persons with a physician referral have been able to import CBD products by obtaining an authorization from 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% tetrahydrocannabinol [THC] could be safely re-classified as an over-the-counter medicine rather than a controlled substance.

“This will eliminate the unnecessary burden of processing applications and remove access barriers, based on the low level of risk attributed to the substance. 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% THC content will also be available over-the-counter, by a registered pharmacist in a pharmacy.”

The Minister’s full statement follows below:

Mr Speaker and Honourable Members,

I am pleased to highlight for this Honourable House and the public that today the Government will be laying amendments to the pharmacy and misuse of drugs legislation to bring about important and overdue updates to Bermuda’s pharmaceutical drugs. Updating of the drug Schedules is a joint effort by the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Social Development and Sports.

My Honourable Members may be aware that the Misuse of Drugs Act 1972 and the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 1973 aim to reduce the harm, abuse of, or addiction to controlled drugs that are recognised by the International Narcotic Control Board. Further, the Pharmacy and Poisons Act 1979 regulates pharmacists and pharmacies, and controls the importation and sale of medicinal drugs in Bermuda.

Mr Speaker, these statutes are interrelated and as Schedules to the Misuse of Drugs Act 1972 and the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 1973 are updated, Schedules to the Pharmacy and Poisons Act 1979 will also need to be amended.

Schedule 3 to the Pharmacy and Poisons Act 1979 lists drugs that can only be sold by prescription. Schedule 3 is complimented by Schedule 4, which lists drugs that can only be sold at a pharmacy, or by a registered pharmacist in a pharmacy. These classifications are necessary health and safety precautions as they ensure restricted access to drugs that can cause harm if not properly dispensed and consumed.

Mr Speaker, these updates regularize a number of drugs that are already sold in Bermuda by prescription but are not listed in the Schedules. Additionally, these drugs meet the criteria established by the Ministry of Health and the Pharmacy Council.

As in other areas of drug control and regulation, the Ministry primarily relies on the expertise and resources of larger jurisdictions to direct our local drug classifications. Accordingly, the standard criterion typically used for adding drugs to any of the Schedules is that local classification aligns with the classification of the drug by two out of three of the approved jurisdictions’ regulatory authorities.

These regulatory authorities are:

  • i. Canada – Health Canada;
  • ii. USA – Federal Drug Administration
  • iii. UK – Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency

Mr Speaker, for a number of reasons, these Schedules had not been updated recently to reflect changes over the years. I am pleased to report that the Ministry of Health and the Pharmacy Council have implemented administrative practices that will assist in capturing drugs more readily and identifying needed updates going forward.

Over 260 drugs were recommended for addition to the Schedules during this update as well as the removal of obsolete drugs and the need for several spelling corrections to ensure the most current spelling is listed in the legislation. These updates include the addition of several controlled drugs that were previously unregulated and challenged the Ministry’s public health oversight.

Mr Speaker, I would also like to highlight additional updates based on the classification of drugs in other jurisdictions.

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 re-classification aligns with other jurisdictions like the US, Canada and the UK.

Further, Mr Speaker the updates will now permit the importation of Cannabidiol [CBD]-containing products for medicinal purposes to allow more options for treatment.

Currently persons with a physician referral have been able to import CBD products by obtaining an authorization from 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% tetrahydrocannabinol [THC] could be safely re-classified as an over-the-counter medicine rather than a controlled substance.

This will eliminate the unnecessary burden of processing applications and remove access barriers, based on the low level of risk attributed to the substance. 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% THC content will also be available over-the-counter, by a registered pharmacist in a pharmacy.

Mr Speaker, it is important to note that updating the drugs listed in these Schedules is a continual requirement to ensure we can regulate the importation, exportation, distribution and possession of such drugs to protect public health and safety.

I, personally would like to recognize and thank Bermuda’s Pharmacists, the Department of Customs, and Medical Practitioners for their professionalism and patience whilst we endeavour to consistently bring our current legislation up to date.

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.

Thank you Mr Speaker.

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Comments (22)

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  1. Just FYI says:

    Glad to see we are catching up with the times! But I’d like to point out that Minister of Health Kim Wilson is slightly incorrect in saying “Currently, the substance is available only through a prescription, which limits women’s access to emergency birth control”, because one can currently drop into the Hamilton women’s health clinic, pay $10 (or maybe its $20) and be administered the ‘morning after pill’ without seeing their GP or getting a ‘prescription’.

  2. junior burchall says:

    GASP!

    First, we started shopping on de Lawd’s day…then, we [temporarily] gave gays the right to marry…and now, we’re actively encouraging people to have s-e-x before marriage…and then arming these evil wrongdoers with the capacity to MURDER any blessed life that is created in the aftermath of their deviant sexual congress?!?!?!?

    …smhh. [shaking my holy head].

    The fact is that NO-ONE should be having sex outside of the sanctity of marriage; as such, providing the ‘homicide-after-coitus’ pill to offending parties is the proverbial middle finger to the Creator of Heaven and Earth and an explicit rejection of the precepts laid down by Him in the Old and New Testament.

    What of the biblical commandment “Thou shalt not kill”? Is God’s divine Word no longer valued in the House of Assembly?

    What, pray tell, is Jesus going to think about this?

    We are truly in the last days. :-(

    *Where’s Gary Simons when you need him? As a devout man of the cloth, Gary’d know what to say and do…..*

    • Jus' Wonderin' says:

      if that’s not sarcasm then sit ya stupid #@# down bra lmfao…

    • Catherine Dl says:

      Absolutely brilliant!!! Hilarious comment.

    • Make a new plan Stan says:

      “Deviant sexual congress”……I can’t wait to try and slip that into a conversation…..if you don’t mind…..I agree with Catherine DI….

  3. reality check says:

    come on everyone. this is a threat to the family unit and a precursor to abortion. let’s get really emotional about this like we did for gay rights!

    • wahoo says:

      Not to mention less potential voters. Man I am angry I want to call my representative.

  4. nerema says:

    Those factions against single sex marriage will presumably be lobbying for this to be prohibited for married women.

  5. sage says:

    Free the herb.

  6. hello says:

    Why is everything so negative.. I think this is a great idea. Its not encouraging bad habits. Like with everything in life, we choose our own path. If a married women decides she wants to take a morning after pill, who cares. Its not like children can go to a pharmacy and purchase the pill. You have to be a adult.

    • What?? says:

      Purely out of curiosity. What law or regulation stipulates that you have to be an adult to buy over the counter medications?

      • Hello says:

        Well I am sure, someone looking under age will not be sold any prescriptions, especially a morning after pill.

  7. Bill says:

    legalizing the killing of babies wow

  8. Bill says:

    Fornicate then eliminate the babies oh my word destroying the family unit great

    • bee says:

      the day after does not make a baby, it makes you pregnant. and if you really want to stop abortions then force all males to have vasectomies and only allowed to reverse them after marriage.

  9. Stevie says:

    Been behind the times. Still catching up with the rest of the world. Ho hum.

  10. Jolly rancher says:

    The same ones who are complaining about the pill being a available OTC will be the same ones who wonder and complain about to much people on financial assistance ! With this pill think about the advantages . One less child living in poverty , one less child in the care of the system , one less family off of financial assistance . Why have a baby and let it suffer ? Take the pill :) ………… in addition , let’s not complain it’s encourong people to have sex ! Because our grand grand parents were Rolling Stones ! There is no longer 20 siblings and etc . So no it’s not promoting sex our great grandparents are proof with 20+ kids without morning after pills . People will do what they want .

  11. Nabba says:

    You justify this how?

  12. bee says:

    it is NOBODY’s business if a woman chooses to become a parent or not. all y’all need to mind you’re own.

  13. bdaboy says:

    ” y’all need to mind you’re own.”

    tell that to the plp.

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