Patient and pharmacist perspectives on pharmacist-prescribed contraception: A systematic review

Contraception. 2021 Feb;103(2):66-74. doi: 10.1016/j.contraception.2020.10.012. Epub 2020 Oct 29.


Objective: Increasingly, states authorize pharmacists to prescribe hormonal contraception to patients without a prescription from another healthcare provider. The purpose of this review is to investigate pharmacist and patient perspectives on pharmacist-prescribed contraception in the United States.

Study design: We searched Medline, Embase, PsycInfo, CINAHL, Scopus, and the Cochrane Library from inception through July 10, 2019. We included qualitative and mixed-methods studies, quantitative surveys, observational studies, and randomized trials in the United States. Risk of bias was assessed using tools for quantitative and qualitative studies.

Results: Fifteen studies met inclusion criteria, including studies on pharmacists and student pharmacists (n = 9), patients (n = 5), and both (n = 1). Study samples ranged from local to national. Studies had moderate to high risk of bias, primarily due to low response rates and lack of validated instruments. Most pharmacists (57-96%) across four studies were interested in participating in pharmacist-prescribed contraception services. Among patients, 63-97% across three studies supported pharmacist-prescribed contraception, and 38-68% across four studies intended to participate in these services. At least half of pharmacists across four studies felt comfortable prescribing contraception, though pharmacists identified additional training needs. Pharmacists and patients identified several reasons for interest in pharmacist-prescribed contraception services, including increasing patient access, reducing unintended pregnancies, and offering professional development for pharmacists. They also identified barriers, including payment, time and resource constraints, liability, and patient health concerns.

Conclusions: Most pharmacists and patients across 15 studies were interested in expanded access to contraception through pharmacist-prescribed contraception. Findings on facilitators and barriers may inform implementation efforts.

Implications: Pharmacist-prescribed contraception is a strategy to expand patient access to contraception. Reducing barriers to implementation could improve participation among pharmacists and patients.

Keywords: Contraception; Pharmacist-prescription; Pharmacy; Pharmacy access; Systematic review.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Contraception
  • Female
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Hormonal Contraception
  • Humans
  • Pharmacists*
  • Pregnancy
  • United States