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Do I Need A Prescription To Buy An Emergency Contraceptive Pill In India

In recent years, the topic of emergency contraceptive pills (ECPs) has garnered attention and stirred discussions across various platforms in India. With an increasing focus on sexual health and rights, understanding the legalities and requirements for accessing ECPs is crucial.

This blog aims to address whether a prescription is necessary to purchase emergency contraceptive pills in India.

What You Should Know Before Buying An ECP in India

An emergency contraceptive pill (ECP), often referred to as morning-after pill or plan B, is a form of contraception or birth control that is designed to prevent an unintended pregnancy after unprotected sex (when no contraception is used) or contraceptive failure (for example, when the condom breaks, slips, or leaks).

The most commonly available ECP in India is a single pill containing a progestogen called Levonorgestrel (LNG). This pill is most effective when taken as soon as possible within 72 hours (3 days) after the first episode of unprotected sex or contraceptive failure. Since an ECP works primarily by preventing or delaying ovulation, and may not work if ovulation has already occurred, the sooner it is taken the more effective it is.

An ECP should only be used as a backup option for emergencies and not as a regular contraceptive.

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Do You Need A Prescription To Buy An ECP In India

According to the Drugs and Cosmetics Act and Rules that govern the sale and distribution of ECPs in India, the LNG-containing ECP can be purchased over-the-counter at pharmacies and does not require a doctor's prescription. This step represents a significant move towards enhancing reproductive autonomy and accessibility for reproductive options for women in India.

Another type of pill that contains Ulipristal Acetate (UPA) can also be used as emergency contraception within 120 hours (5 days) after unprotected sex or contraceptive failure. However, this pill can only be purchased and used with a doctor's prescription and guidance, as it is not yet approved for use as an emergency contraceptive in India.

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Accessibility and Awareness

While ECPs are available over-the-counter in India, awareness and accessibility remain significant challenges. Misconceptions and stigma associated with emergency contraception can hinder access, underscoring the importance of educational initiatives and community outreach.


The accessibility of emergency contraceptive pills without a prescription in India marks a significant step towards reproductive freedom. However, enhancing awareness and combating stigma are vital to ensuring that individuals can fully exercise their rights to sexual and reproductive health.

As discussions and policies evolve, continued focus on education and accessibility will be key in promoting informed choices and well-being. By providing comprehensive insights into the availability of ECPs in India, this blog aims to empower readers with the knowledge to make informed decisions about their reproductive health.


This blog, including its text, images, and infographics, are for educational purposes only and not a substitute for professional medical advice. For personalized advice, always consult a doctor.

Further Reading

For more details on this or related topics, refer to the papers listed in references below, the FAQs on the ECP page, or other blogs on the Learn page of our website


  • World Health Organization. Emergency contraception. 2021.

  • Central Drugs Standard Control Organization. Drug and Cosmetics Act and Rules. 19


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