Scotland has become the first country in the world to make period products universally and freely available for anyone who need them.

Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) passed the Period Products (Free Provision) (Scotland) bill in November 2020, and this has now come into force.

The legislation was given the green light following a campaign by Labour MSP Monica Lennon to ensure that no-one had to go without essential sanitary products. She described the new law as a step towards 'a fairer, more equitable society for us to live in'.

It is now the responsibility of local authorities, universities, colleges and schools to provide the products for anyone who needs to use them.

Adam Osprey, policy and development pharmacist at Community Pharmacy Scotland (CPS) said: 'To our knowledge, no local authority has approached pharmacy, locally as yet – but this may be a route that they wish to purse at some point.

'Community Pharmacy Scotland is fully supportive of the Bill, and recognises that Scotland is leading the way globally on this issue of social justice.'

Across the rest of the UK, free period products are available on a limited level. In Wales, the Welsh Government announced £3.3m funding to tackle period poverty in schools and colleges and in Northern Ireland a law was passed earlier this year that would make period products freely available in all schools, colleges and public buildings as part of a three-year scheme.

In England, the period products scheme will run until at least 2024. The Government pledged that free products should be made available to students up until the age of 19 in state-run schools and colleges. However, Girlguiding, which has long campaigned by the availability of free products, has found that almost a third of girls aged 11-18 are unable to access the products despite one in 10 girls or their family being unable to afford them.

The charity is now calling on the Department for Education to do a full-scale evaluation to ensure everyone can access the period products they need.

A spokesperson for Girlguiding added that it welcomed 'this action by Scotland to protect the right to free period products'.