Scotland’s independent think tank
Scotland’s independent think tank


Think tank called last month for flexible access to contraception during Coronavirus 

Reform Scotland, the independent non-party think tank, has today welcomed a Scottish Greens amendment to this week’s emergency Coronavirus legislation that would add the birth control pill to the list of products that can be prescribed in pharmacies under the Minor Ailment Service during the crisis.

The Government has already extended the Minor Ailment Service (MAS) to everyone – a move welcomed by Reform Scotland. Previously the system was restricted to certain groups of people.  

This think tank has called for the birth control pill to be on the list of products available on prescription directly from pharmacists – which include treatments for acne, diarrhoea and head lice – and this has received widespread political backing (see notes to editors).

Although many pharmacies already provide the pill without a GP prescription, it must be paid for. Reform Scotland believes that making the pill easier to access for free, as part of MAS, would be an important step.

Commenting, Reform Scotland’s Research Director Alison Payne said:

“We welcome Alison Johnstone’s amendment, which would give effect to the suggestion we made last month. 

“With a continuing focus on easing the pressure on primary care and the NHS in general during the Coronavirus pandemic, this is a relatively straightforward step.

“It has received backing from all opposition parties, and with today’s Green amendment we hope to see it supported universally.”



  1. Reform Scotland is an independent, non-party think tank that aims to set out a better way to deliver increased economic prosperity and more effective public services based on the traditional Scottish principles of limited government, diversity and personal responsibility. Further information is available at
  2. Reform Scotland’s report “On The Pill: Coronavirus and Contraception”, can be read here.
  3. All four opposition parties tweeted their support for our proposal: 
    • Miles Briggs MSP, Conservative:  “This suggestion put forward by @reformscotland calling on @scotgov to include access to the birth control pill in the recently extended Minor Ailment Service seems sensible and will help take pressure off GP surgeries”
    • Monica Lennon MSP, Labour: “A welcome briefing on coronavirus and contraception from @reformscotland calling on @scotgov to include access to the birth control pill in the recently extended Minor Ailment Service.  Will @scotgov support this @JoeFitzSNP @jeaneF1MSP”
    • Alison Johnstone MSP, Greens: “I very much support @reformscotland call for free access to contraceptive pill during COVID-19 crisis.  Enabling prescription direct from pharmacists at this time ensures that cost isn’t a barrier for any woman.  Our local pharmacists are well placed  to offer guidance and advice”
    • Alex Cole Hamilton MSP, Liberal Democrat: “This is a really important suggestion (finger down emoji)”
  4. Media: Message Matters (Andy Maciver, [email protected], 07855 261 244)


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