Pharmacist prescribing of hormonal contraception

People face numerous obstacles that delay or prevent them from accessing contraception, including lack of money, time, or transportation to visit a provider for a prescription. In addition, concerns about confidentiality deter many young people from seeking contraceptive care. Allowing pharmacists to prescribe and dispense hormonal birth control removes some of the obstacles people face in accessing contraception. Fortunately, a growing number of states have passed laws allowing pharmacists to prescribe hormonal birth control methods, expanding the ways in which people can access contraception.

Our research explores the readiness and willingness of pharmacists to provide this service, as well as the needs of potential users and experiences of current users of hormonal birth control. In particular, our studies have assessed pharmacists’ interest, comfort level, training needs, and barriers to prescribing hormonal contraceptives. We have also assessed the needs and concerns of young people about obtaining birth control from a pharmacist, and have surveyed people who have used pharmacist prescribing services about their experience. Our studies inform pharmacies of how this service can best meet users’ needs, and can help improve training protocols for pharmacists offering hormonal birth control prescriptions. Our research on pharmacist-prescribing models also helps build the evidence base around patient experiences and health care utilization among those obtaining birth control outside the clinic setting. 

Our research seeks to highlight the needs and concerns of both patients and pharmacists to ensure that pharmacist-prescribing models are successfully implemented and utilized. Pharmacist provision of contraception has the potential to remove logistical and transportation barriers many people encounter when attempting to obtain contraception, expanding the ways in which people can choose to obtain contraceptive care.