Negative Consultation Process

Story 1:

I wanted to shout at her that I wasn’t an idiot and I just made a stupid mistake

‘I had too much to drink and went home with an acquaintance. Neither of us had a condom, but he reasoned that we could get the morning after pill over the counter the next day. Stupidly, I agreed. It was a silly, once-off, drink-fueled mistake – on both of our parts. I had gotten the morning after pill only once before, in the days when it could only be got from a GP. I was in a long term relationship at the time and the condom we were using had slipped off.

The next day, the guy went by himself to the chemist to get the morning after pill. He came back empty handed and told me that the pharmacist would not give it to him. I would have to go myself and answer some medical questions. So he drove me to the pharmacy and I was brought into a small consultation room, and left alone to fill in the form. It asked questions about my medical history, my regular GP and so on.

I filled in the form in about 5 minutes, but it was at least another 20 before anyone came back into the room. I wondered if they forgot I was there, and whether I should go out and make myself known. I was conscious that I had already missed the bus I needed to catch. Finally, a pharmacist came back into the room and went through the whole form with me again. Then she asked a question I was not expecting: ‘How did this happen?’ I told her the embarrassing truth – that I had had too much to drink and had a one-night-stand without using protection. The pharmacist asked me if I wanted to learn about more safe methods of contraception, such as the pill and condoms. I wanted to shout at her that I wasn’t an idiot and I just made a stupid mistake, and why wasn’t he being offered a lecture about contraception? But I just said ‘no.’

Finally, feeling humiliated and about 40 minutes after entering the pharmacy, I was able to buy the pill.’

Story 2:

I wanted the ground to swallow me up

I have taken it 5 times in my life- twice when it needed to be prescribed and 3 times over the counter. What I found is since it became over the counter it is less stigmatised compared to before, the pharmacists are professional and informative. The price has ranged from €30 euro to €55, which I feel is very excessive.

However I feel I need to discuss the situation that happened to me in a Maynooth pharamacy when i was in college there. The second time I ever took the morning after pill was a sensitive issue and I was pretty upset needing to go and get it. I remember when I was going to the counter and handing in my prescription I was met with judgmental eyes from the male pharamacist. If this wasnt enough when he was calling out for me to get my prescription from him; he called out my name very loudly and followed it by saying ‘again’ with a sigh.

Now I was 21 at the time and I wanted the ground to swallow me up as a number of people were around  looking at me in suspicion. It infuriates me to think that a man in that professional stature could act so inappropriate in such a situation. Since then i will only go to a female pharmacist in these situation as I do not want to be subjected in feeling I have done something wrong.

Story 3:

I was nervous and afraid of being judged upon entering the pharmacy, a feeling that was not lessened by the large queue behind me. However, the counter staff seemed nice and understanding. The pharmacist took me into a small, curtained off area to ask me some questions. However, I was still fearful that the exchange could be heard, and several times he had to ask me to speak up. He seemed courteous, though visibly stiffened when I told him I had taken the pill before. This being said, he relaxed when I told him that this was seven years ago, leading me to believe that his reaction had more to do with the potential side effects and effectiveness of the pill than any prejudice on his part”

Story 4:

“Before I entered the pharmacy, I was confident, because I knew this was something I had to do. However, although the ladies in the pharmacy were lovely, once they started questioning “Why it happened” and “If it was consensual” I began to feel overwhelmed by the situation. They encouraged me to reach out, and talk to someone. because it can be a stressful time, but I just felt like I wanted it to be over, and to get out of the uncomfortable, slightly judgmental shop as quickly as I could.”

Story 5:

“Nervous before asking for MAP. On one occasion, definitely judged by female pharmacist. Was given a very patronising look and lecture when I said I was on the pill (I forgot took take one – take no chances!).  Another lecture when I said I’d had MAP once before.”

Story 6:

I was really nervous as a breastfeeding mother to get the right pill. I had to borrow the money on the day which added to my stress. The pharmacist ushered me to a private cubby and it felt rather shameful having to answer so many questions such as “is this the only time”. It indeed was… but it was all for nothing in the end

Story 7:

The pharmacist gave me a Think Contraception! leaflet even though I hadn’t asked for it, and it made me feel childish. I’m still not sure why he thought it was a good idea to give it to me.



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