Girls as young as 13 could be offered the contraceptive pill at pharmacies without needing a prescription, a report has suggested, following a pilot scheme in Lambeth.

The pilot study – which was carried out at five pharmacies in the Southwark and Lambeth, which have some of the highest teenage pregnancy rates in Europe - found the number of women needing emergency contraception "dropped significantly" in the year following the introduction of over-the-counter access to the pill.

An NHS South East London report said the trial was successful in reaching its target group of black British, Caribbean and African women aged between 20 and 24 and those who had not previously used oral contraception.

The report added those who used it had valued the convenience of the service and the anonymity it offered, and recommended it be expanded to other pharmacies around the country and also consider offering it to teenagers aged between 13 and 16.