For information about contraception, pregnancy options and sexual health in Victoria

Where can I buy contraception?

on 22 Aug 2022 5:48 AM
Photo of a pharmacist being handed a script


In previous blog posts, we’ve discussed reasons why people use contraception, how contraception affects your period, their effectiveness and ways to prevent their failure as well as side effects some people may experience.  

In this blog we will be discussing WHERE you can buy contraception in Victoria. Broadly speaking, we can divide contraception methods into those that require a prescription, and those that don’t. 

Contraception methods that REQUIRE a doctor’s prescription  

Some contraception options require both a doctor’s prescription, as well as needing to be administered by a trained professional.  

  • Contraceptive Implants: often known as the Implanon®, Nexplanon® and 'the rod.' They’re a small plastic rod placed under the skin of your upper arm, releasing a low dose of the hormone progesterone, to stop your ovaries from releasing an egg each month.  
    Available at most pharmacies with a script, and inserted by a trained doctor or nurse. 

  • Hormonal IUDs: available in Victoria as the Mirena™ or Kyleena™. They’re a small, T-shaped, plastic device inserted into your uterus, releasing a low, steady amount of progestogen.  
    Available at most pharmacies with a script, and inserted by a trained doctor or nurse. 

  • Copper IUDs: small, T-shaped contraceptive devices inserted into the uterus. They do not contain hormones, and constantly release a small amount of copper into the uterus. 
    Available at most pharmacies with a script, and inserted by a trained doctor or nurse. 

  • Contraceptive injections: commonly known as the 'Depo shot,' these are given in your arm or bottom every 12 to 14 weeks.  
    Available at most pharmacies with a script, and administered by a trained doctor or nurse. 

Other contraception methods require a doctor’s prescription, but you can use them without a doctor or nurse inserting them for you. These options include: 

  • Vaginal rings: Sold as the NuvaRing® in Australia, these are soft silicone rings that you self-insert into your vagina (as easy to put in as a tampon). They sit in your vagina for 3 weeks, and can be removed for 7 days or can be used back-to-back. They come in a pack of 3 and must be refrigerated. 
    Available at most pharmacies with a script. 

  • Oral Contraceptive Pills: There are two types of oral contraceptives - the Combined Pill (contains both estrogen and progestogen) and the Mini Pill (contains progestogen only). There are many different types and brands available. The Pill can affect other medications, so let your doctor know if you are taking any other medications.  
    Available at most pharmacies with a script. Some oral contraceptive pills are now available through online delivery and subscription services.   

Contraception methods that DON’T require a doctor’s prescription 

  • Emergency Contraceptive Pills: (commonly known as the “morning after” pill) are best taken as soon as possible after unprotected sex, ideally within 24 hours. They work by delaying when your ovaries release an egg (ovulation), and are around 85% effective in preventing an unintended pregnancy.  
    There are two options available: 

Emergency contraceptive pills can bought directly from most pharmacies without prescription from your doctor – they are available “over the counter”. Your pharmacist will go through some questions with you before dispensing the medication. 

  • External condoms are sheaths made of latex or polyurethane, rolled onto an erect penis before sex. These come in different sizes, materials and flavours. 
    These are widely available from supermarkets, convenience stores, petrol stations and pharmacies. Some health clinics, youth services and community health services provide them for free.  

  • Internal condoms are a soft pouch made of latex or polyurethane, with two flexible rings at each end. The internal condom is inserted into the vagina before sex. 
    These are available online, and at some pharmacies and family planning clinics. Unfortunately, they can be a bit harder to find and are more costly than external condoms.  

  • Diaphragms are a shallow, cup-shape device made of silicone. You self-insert the diaphragm into your vagina to cover your cervix.   
    These are available online, and at some pharmacies and family planning clinics.  
    Some people prefer to meet with a nurse or doctor before using a diaphragm for the first time, so they can show you how to insert and remove it. 

When purchasing contraception from pharmacies, it is useful to call the pharmacy in advance to check for stock.  Prices can also vary depending on where you go, so if cost is an issue, it might help to look at different pharmacies to compare prices.

When travelling interstate or overseas, make sure you plan ahead for your contraception needs as different rules will apply in different places. If you can, organise your contraception supply before a trip!

It’s always a good idea to discuss your contraception options with your GP or sexual health nurse. You can contact us at 1800 My Options to find a service near you – call 1800 696 784 (weekdays, 9am – 5pm). 

Benefits of Contraception Use, New Zealand Family Planning 2013. 
Contraception Choices, Better Health Channel 2022.