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The "morning after pill" is a contraceptive that is designed to prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex. This pill goes a little beyond "the morning after" emergency contraception can be used within 72 hours after unprotected intercourse, or in case of newer pills even up to five days after the deed! Can you buy the morning after pill without prescription?

The rules vary per country and sometimes per state or province within a country. Because our blog is in English, we'll just list the possibilities in several English-speaking countries. If you are in another country and need emergency contraception, the best route to find out how to obtain it is through a local family practitioner, or the gynecology department at a hospital. If they are not able to provide the morning after pill, they'll at least be familiar with the rules.

United States of America

The morning after pill is available without prescription for those who are over 17, from a drugstore or Planned Parenthood. Those who want to buy the morning after pill will have to ask for it, because they're behind the counter. If you look young, you may also be subjected to an ID check. Women under 17 will need a prescription, which they can obtain from their family practice doctor or a health center. Plan B is among the most popular emergency contraceptives in the US.

Great Britain

The morning after pill, generally Levonelle one step, can be bought from pharmacies with no prescription. Different versions can also be obtained through general practitioners with a prescription. Anyone over 16 can buy the morning after pill over the counter. If you want the NHS to cover the cost of the morning after pill, you will need to get a prescription.


The morning after pill is available over the counter in most Canadian provinces and territories. In Saskatchewan, emergency contraception is available without prescription but is kept behind the counter. That means you will be asked a few questions before a pharmacist will give you emergency contraceptives. In Quebec, a prescription is needed to obtain the morning after pill.


Since the beginning of 2011, the morning after pill is available over the counter in Ireland. The pill is called NorLevo, and there are no age restrictions on buying it! The morning after pill became available over the counter after the pharmacy Boots started selling it, and the authorities made a ruling under which the emergency contraceptive should be accessible over the counter from any pharmacy.


Emergency contraception is available over the counter from most pharmacies in Australia, but a doctor can also prescribe it. For a reminder to always get emergency contraception through the proper channels, read: Stay away from counterfeit morning after pills!

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