Emergency Contraception Counseling in California Community Pharmacies: A Mystery Caller Study

Pharmacy (Basel). 2019 Apr 23;7(2):38. doi: 10.3390/pharmacy7020038.


This study was conducted to determine which emergency contraception (EC) methods are offered by community pharmacists in response to patient calls. Female mystery callers called all community pharmacies in two California cities using standardized scripts. The callers inquired about options available to prevent pregnancy after sex and whether that method was available at the pharmacy, using follow-up probes if necessary. A total of 239 calls were completed in San Diego (n = 127, 53%) and San Francisco (n = 112, 47%). Pharmacists indicated availability at most sites (n = 220, 92%) with option(s) reported as levonorgestrel only (LNG; n = 211, 88.3%), both ulipristal acetate (UPA) and LNG (n = 4, 1.6%), UPA only (n = 1, 0.4%), or non-specific EC (n = 4, 1.7%). Nineteen pharmacies (7.9%) did not have EC available on the day of the call. Following additional probing, some pharmacists discussed UPA (n = 49, 20.5%) or the copper intrauterine device (n = 1, 0.4%) as EC options. LNG EC products were available same-day in 90.1% of pharmacies, whereas UPA was available same-day in 9.6% of pharmacies. The majority of pharmacies called in this study offered and stocked at least one EC option, but the focus of discussions was on LNG and matched what was in stock and available.

Keywords: emergency contraception; levonorgestrel; pharmacist; pharmacy; ulipristal acetate.