There is finally some good news for people with a uterus: the morning-after-pill is now fully funded through services at the University of Auckland. And it’s about damn time!
UoA students can now access the morning-after-pill at no cost through the campus pharmacy and student health and counselling services.
The initiative by the Student Wellbeing Team started after discussions with students and support services across the University mentioned the cost of the emergency contraception pill as a barrier to healthcare for students.
The University’s campus pharmacy prescribes an average of 216 morning-after-pills a year to students. In 2019, there were 312 pills sold to students on campus, 80 directly from the campus pharmacy.
At most pharmacies, the price typically ranges between $35 and $50.
The Wellbeing Team says the project aims to reduce financial barriers and increase ease of access to the morning after pill for UoA students.
“It’s all about making it so that students are able to make the choice that feels right for them, without the cost of something impacting their decision,” says Health Promotion Advisor, Thibaut Bouttier-Esprit.
According to a US study, around 25% of women between the ages of 25 and 49 have taken the morning-after-pill, with University aged women being the most likely to have ever used the emergency contraception.
“Sadly, no similar data can be found for New Zealand; however, we can assume from this piece of work that a high percentage of women will use the morning-after-pill,” says Bouttier-Esprit.
Students can access Plan B for free without a script or appointment by showing their campus card or enrolled courses on Student Services Online at Unichem Pharmacy, located in the Student Commons of the city campus.
You will be asked a few health questions to ensure that the medication fits your needs. A Pharmacist will then provide a pregnancy test and a morning-after-pill for free. Students weighing more than 70kg may be advised to take a double dose, which will also be funded.
Students registered with Health and Counselling can book on-the-day nurse appointments, and there will be no cost for this appointment.
Staff at the Campus Pharmacy and Student Health and Counselling will be provided with a one-page handout to give to students during their appointment. This will detail when to take the pregnancy test, what to do if you get a positive result, and the support services available within and outside the University.
If you need to access the morning-after-pill and you are not near the city campus, the Wellbeing team suggests finding your closest Family Planning clinic.
If you are a New Zealand citizen or resident and under 22, Family Planning also offers Plan B for free. Otherwise, there may be a $5 prescription fee.
Emergency contraception can be used after unprotected sex to protect against pregnancy up to 72 hours after sex. However for most people it is still effective up to four days after sex.
Students can find out more by searching “Plan B” on UoA’s website.