An Egyptian pharmacy has started offering 24 hour emergency contraception pills at the country’s biggest pharmacy outlet.
The pharmacies’ website states that it has a “24 hour Pharmacy with 24 hours” service, but the only option for customers is to order the pills at a pharmacy, where they will be taken by hand and administered at the pharmacy.
The service will start from April 17 and last for 24 hours.
The pharmacy’s website states, “We are happy to accept any patient’s prescription, but we will not be able to provide you with any medication without your consent.”
According to Al Jazeera, the 24 hour pill service is available at a number of pharmacies in Egypt, including in the capital Cairo.
In addition, the service is being offered at other pharmacies in Alexandria, and at some of the largest pharmacies in the country, including at the Mamdouh hospital in Cairo and the Suez canal port of Suez, where the 24-hour pharmacy is also being offered.
However, there are some health concerns that have come up with the service, which has been approved by the Health Ministry, the state-run media outlet MENA reported.
The health ministry said the 24 hours pill service “is not safe for women.”
A spokesperson for the health ministry told Al Jazeera that it is “aware of some of concerns regarding this service.”
But Al Jazeera’s Sami Hassan said the service has been on the books for several years, and it is not a new concept.
“They’re a licensed pharmacy that offers emergency contraception, so there’s been a long history of this in Egypt,” he said.
“And it’s a service that the health ministries have been trying to implement, and have tried to get through with,” Hassan said.
Hassan also noted that some pharmacies in other Arab countries are charging women to take the pills.
“We know that there are other pharmacies that charge for the 24h pill service, and some have been doing it for years,” he told Al Arabiya English.
“So, I’m not saying this is a new phenomenon here, but I’m saying that there is no reason for the pharmacies in these other countries to not be doing this.”
The 24-hours pill service was initially introduced in Egypt in December 2016, but has only been available in some pharmacies since that time.
Al Jazeera’s Mohamed Elshayyab contributed to this report.