Women will soon be able to buy contraceptive pills over the counter at pharmacies

Medicine regulatory authority Medsafe is changing the classification of some oral contraceptives from prescription to restricted medicines.

Medsafe group manager Chris James said to be eligible to buy the pill at a pharmacy a woman must have been prescribed a similar product within the previous three years.

Women with risk factors that required medicial supervision would not be eligible. Those under 16, or taking the pill for the first time, will also not be able to buy the pill over the counter.

Mr James said women would be encouraged to let pharmacists notify their GP if they were getting the contraceptive at a pharmacy.