Purpose: Expanding access to hormonal contraception may reduce the barrier created with the current prescription requirement. The goal of this study was to gain a better understanding of health care providers' opinions on expanding access to hormonal contraception (oral pill, transdermal patch, vaginal ring, and injectable) and the role of pharmacists as direct providers of this reproductive health service.
Methods: A voluntary, self-administered survey was distributed to participating national professional associations' physician and midlevel provider members who provide reproductive health services. Outcomes of providers' opinions on expanded access to hormonal contraception in pharmacies were analyzed by provider type (n = 482).
Findings: Almost three-quarters (74%) of the 482 providers surveyed, 76% of physicians and 70% of midlevels, were supportive of expanding access for the pill, patch, and ring contraceptives to include pharmacist-initiated access. Despite overall support for pharmacist-initiated access, more than 70% of respondents were concerned that expanded access would result in decreased reproductive health preventive screening. Slightly fewer providers supported or were neutral towards behind-the-counter (65% for pill/patch/ring, 55% injectable) and over-the-counter (47% for pill/patch/ring, 36% injectable) access than for pharmacist-initiated access.
Conclusions: The majority of reproductive health providers support pharmacist-initiated access to the pill, patch, ring, and injectable contraceptives. There is some support for behind-the-counter and over-the-counter access. Provider concerns about lower rates of reproductive health preventive screenings and pharmacist training issues would need to be appropriately addressed along with any policy changes.
Copyright © 2016 Jacobs Institute of Women's Health. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.