Direct pharmacy access to hormonal contraception: California physician and advanced practice clinician views

Contraception. 2012 Dec;86(6):687-93. doi: 10.1016/j.contraception.2012.05.010. Epub 2012 Jun 18.


Background: The United States has high rates of unintended pregnancy, and many women report difficulties in obtaining contraception. Pharmacy access would expand access to hormonal contraception.

Study design: A qualitative study using a structured interview guide was conducted with 20 reproductive health practitioners including physicians and advanced practice clinicians in California in 2008-2009.

Results: Most respondents considered the current prescription-only model of access to hormonal contraception to be too restrictive. Some reported a preference for a pharmacy access model where women could obtain contraceptives directly from a pharmacist, bypassing the clinic visit. Many providers believed that method continuation and compliance would improve with pharmacy access to contraception. The most common concern reported was pharmacist refusal to provide services.

Conclusions: Overall, providers viewed increased access to hormonal contraception as an important public health service and supported pharmacy access. They thought that pharmacy access can be accomplished through pharmacist education and training. Additional research is needed to test the hypothesis generated by this qualitative study that physicians and advanced practice clinicians would welcome an enhanced role of pharmacists in the provision of hormonal contraception.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Advanced Practice Nursing*
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Behind-the-Counter Drugs* / adverse effects
  • Contraception Behavior
  • Contraceptive Agents, Female / administration & dosage
  • Contraceptive Agents, Female / adverse effects
  • Contraceptive Devices, Female / adverse effects
  • Contraceptives, Oral, Hormonal* / adverse effects
  • Drug Implants
  • Education, Pharmacy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pharmaceutical Services*
  • Pharmacists
  • Physician Assistants*
  • Physicians*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Professional Role
  • San Francisco
  • Transdermal Patch


  • Behind-the-Counter Drugs
  • Contraceptive Agents, Female
  • Contraceptives, Oral, Hormonal
  • Drug Implants