Social and legislative shaping of access to contraceptives and the pharmacist's role: A literature review

Res Social Adm Pharm. 2020 May;16(5):628-636. doi: 10.1016/j.sapharm.2019.07.005. Epub 2019 Jul 9.


Background: Despite years of research and numerous policies, access to contraceptives in the United States remains imperfect. Largely due to lack of access to contraceptives, unintended pregnancy rates remain high.

Objective: To provide researchers and policy-makers with a comprehensive review of the legislative and social landscape that has shaped contraceptive access in the United States, which may help to guide future research and policies.

Methods: A narrative overview of existing literature on policies and research regarding women's access to contraceptives was compiled, with a focus on the role of pharmacists.

Results: Contraceptive access has been heavily influenced by laws and policies throughout the years, and disparities remain in underserved populations. Pharmacists are beginning to play a role in improving access to contraceptives through provision of contraceptives using direct pharmacy access policies.

Conclusions: Continued research and new policies aimed at improving contraceptive access are warranted.

Keywords: Access; Contraceptive; Direct pharmacy access; Narrative literature review; Pharmacist.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Contraception
  • Contraceptive Agents
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Pharmaceutical Services*
  • Pharmacies*
  • Pharmacists
  • Pregnancy
  • United States


  • Contraceptive Agents