Background: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) restricts dispensing of mifepristone for medication abortion to certified health care providers at clinical facilities, thus prohibiting pharmacist dispensing. Allowing mifepristone dispensing by pharmacists could improve access to medication abortion.
Objective: To assess the feasibility of pharmacists dispensing mifepristone to patients who have undergone evaluation for eligibility and counseling for medication abortion by a clinician.
Methods: Before providing a study training on medication abortion, we administered baseline surveys to pharmacists who participated in a multisite mifepristone-dispensing intervention. The survey assessed medication abortion knowledge-using a 15-item score-and perceptions about the benefits and challenges of the model. We administered follow-up surveys in the study's final month that also assessed the pharmacists' satisfaction and experiences with mifepristone dispensing. To investigate the association of the study intervention with the pharmacists' knowledge, perceptions, and experiences dispensing mifepristone, we conducted multivariable linear regression analyses using generalized estimating equation models, accounting for clustering by individual.
Results: Among the 72 pharmacists invited from 6 pharmacies, 47 (65%) completed the baseline surveys, and 56 (78%) received training. At the study's end (mean 18 months later), 43 of the 56 pharmacists who received training (77%) completed the follow-up surveys. At follow-up, 36 (83%) respondents were very or somewhat satisfied with mifepristone dispensing, and 24 (56%) reported experiencing no challenges dispensing mifepristone. Four (6%) of the 72 pharmacists invited objected to participating in mifepristone dispensing. In regression analyses, average knowledge scores, perceived ease of implementation, and level of support for the pharmacist-dispensing model were higher at follow-up (P < 0.001).
Conclusion: Most pharmacists were willing to be trained, dispensed mifepristone with few challenges when given the opportunity, were satisfied with the model, and had higher knowledge levels at follow-up. Our findings support removal of FDA's restriction on pharmacist dispensing of mifepristone.
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