LETTERS: Pill scare: trouble for doctors and women

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The Independent Online
From Dr Irene Bainbridge

and others

Sir: We are concerned about the motives behind the latest official warning on the dangers of certain low-dose combined contraceptive pills ("Pill alert for a million women", 20 October). The report suggests that at-risk patients are more likely to suffer from clotting disorders if they take certain brands of contraception.

Doctors have known of the risks from the combined contraceptives for many years. The risks are real but very small. This is precisely why the Pill is not available over the counter and can only be obtained from doctors. Before they provide any combined contraceptives, all family doctors take account of the woman's medical, social and family history and we only provide contraception we consider is safe for the patients.

We believe the current warning is irresponsible and unjustified, causing many women undue anxiety. Some will have stopped their contraceptives, thereby risking an unwanted pregnancy, a condition not without its own hazards and long-term consequences.

Is it just coincidence that only a year ago the Government wanted to blacklist certain brands of Pill on the grounds of costs?

Yours sincerely,

Irene Bainbridge, Martyn Jones, David Roberts, Shom Sil, Allan Tennent, Paul Thomas , John Zacharias

National Committee of the

Dispensing Doctors Association

Barham, Ipswich

20 October