Adolescents' Perceptions of Contraception Access through Pharmacies

Pharmacy (Basel). 2020 Mar 28;8(2):53. doi: 10.3390/pharmacy8020053.


Adolescent pregnancy is an important public health issue, and pharmacist prescribing has the potential to expand contraceptive access and decrease unintended pregnancy. However, little is known about acceptability and uptake of pharmacist prescribing among adolescents, particularly among youth in socially and politically conservative regions of the country. The study objective was to identify how young women in Indiana perceive pharmacist contraceptive prescribing. Participants were recruited from clinics and completed a simulated pharmacist contraception-prescribing encounter; a demographic and behavioral questionnaire; and an in-depth qualitative interview focused on adolescent perspectives on pharmacist prescribing. Data were analyzed using thematic analysis. Sixty young women aged 14-21 years (mean age 17.0 ± 1.7 years) completed in-depth interviews. The majority expressed interest in pharmacist contraceptive prescribing (n = 33, 55.9%). Three overarching themes were identified, focusing on accessibility; quality of care; and pharmacist knowledge and youth friendliness. Subthemes highlighted the need for improved confidential access; a desire for additional pharmacist training in contraception; and interactions with a pharmacist that can relate to the young person. Increased awareness of the perceptions of young people can inform state policies and pharmacy protocols. Pharmacists, because of their accessibility, are well poised and equipped to assist in this public health concern.

Keywords: adolescent; contraception; pharmacist; qualitative research.