Implementation of hormonal contraceptive furnishing in San Francisco community pharmacies

J Am Pharm Assoc (2003). 2020 Nov-Dec;60(6):963-968.e2. doi: 10.1016/j.japh.2020.07.019. Epub 2020 Aug 13.


Background: In 2013, California passed Senate Bill 493, which allowed pharmacists to furnish hormonal contraceptives without a physician's prescription. Despite this expanded scope of practice, only 11% of the pharmacies reported furnishing hormonal contraception over the following 6 years.

Objectives: Our study objectives were to determine the extent of hormonal contraceptive furnishing and identify the factors that led to successful implementation in San Francisco community pharmacies.

Methods: Backspace we conducted a cross-sectional survey to identify community pharmacies furnishing hormonal contraception in San Francisco. Interviews were coded inductively to identify consistent themes. Semistructured interviews with pharmacists at the locations that furnished contraception identified the factors that had led to successful implementation in local community pharmacies, as well as assessing changes in practice during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

Results: San Francisco had 113 operational community pharmacies in April 2020. Of these, 21 locations reported that they furnished hormonal contraception (19%), and we interviewed pharmacists at 12 of those locations. We identified 3 key factors that drove implementation at the pharmacy level: administrative support, advertising, and pharmacist engagement. Additional drivers of implementation involved the nature of the community. The respondents also reported on barriers that continued to slow adoption, including consultation fees, time constraints, and patient privacy. Changes in demand for services owing to COVID-19 risks were inconsistent.

Conclusion: Our findings suggest strategies that community pharmacies can use to expand their scope of practice and improve quality and continuity of care for patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19 / epidemiology*
  • Community Pharmacy Services / organization & administration*
  • Community Pharmacy Services / standards
  • Contraceptives, Oral, Hormonal / supply & distribution*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Drug Prescriptions / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Pharmacists / standards*
  • Professional Role*
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • San Francisco / epidemiology


  • Contraceptives, Oral, Hormonal