Objective: To describe New Mexico pharmacists' knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs toward the prescribing of oral emergency contraception (EC) in their practices.
Design: Cross-sectional study.
Setting: New Mexico in January through March 2004. POTENTIAL PARTICIPANTS: New Mexico pharmacists.
Interventions: Questionnaire containing 74 items.
Main outcome measure(s): Mean scores were calculated for individual knowledge items, overall knowledge scores, and attitude/belief items. Knowledge and attitude/belief scores were compared across demographic variables using t tests, ANOVA, and chi-square analyses.
Results: Of 1392 deliverable questionnaires, 555 (40%) were returned and 523 (38%) were usable; 136 contained written comments. Pharmacists had overall knowledge scores of 71.2% +/- 11.3%. Pharmacists who had participated in a state-approved EC prescribing training program and had time in their practice setting to prescribe EC had significantly higher knowledge scores. Mean scores indicated that pharmacists have positive attitudes and beliefs toward prescribing EC. Overall, 40% of respondents indicated that they would like to become certified to prescribe EC. Pharmacists who agreed that they would like to be certified to prescribe EC were significantly more likely to be male, non-Hispanic, non-Christian, to have liberal or moderate political views, and to indicate that they had employer/manager approval, time, and privacy in their practice setting to prescribe EC.
Conclusion: New Mexico pharmacists have positive attitudes/beliefs toward EC prescribing; however, their knowledge in this area is average. Although religious, moral, and political views influence pharmacists' willingness to prescribe EC, factors such as education and practice environment must be addressed if more pharmacists are to accept this EC prescriptive authority.