Faced with access problems, women could be positively impacted by pharmacists having prescribing powers in New York state.
Hormonal contraceptives do more than prevent pregnancy, resulting in a significant number of women who use it. More states are allowing pharmacists to prescribe hormonal contraceptives, but many women “lack of awareness of what pharmacists know, and the level of care that they can provide.”1 A poster presented at the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists Midyear Meeting, held December 4 to 8 in Las Vegas, Nevada, examined what women in New York, where pharmacists don’t currently have prescribing powers, would think about pharmacist-prescribed contraceptives.1
Investigators targeted women aged 15 to 44 years who lived in New York state to complete a survey. The survey had 15 questions that collected information on n demographic characteristics like income level and age as well as current or planned hormonal contraception use. In addition, the respondents were asked about their knowledge of, interest in, and need for hormonal contraception prescribed by a pharmacist.
A total of 500 women completed the survey, with the majority aged 25 to 44 years. Three hundred eighty-one of the women had a history of using contraception in the past. Pregnancy prevention, managing menstrual cramps, and treating irregular menstrual cycles were the most commonly cited reasons for wanting to use hormonal contraception. The top 2 challenges to access were wait times at the birth control provider (15.15%) and scheduling an appointment (22.46%); 1 in 4 respondents indicated facing another barrier that wasn’t listed as an option.
Like many other Americans, 72% reported that they were closer to their pharmacist and overall had more access to the pharmacist than their regular health care provider. Furthermore, 74.2% indicated they would be comfortable with their pharmacist prescribing hormonal contraception. However, only 27.2% were aware that pharmacists can do so in 18 other states.
With barriers to access utilizing pharmacists could be a key way to overcoming the barrier to hormonal contraception access that many women face, especially because they in addition to pregnancy prevention, it is “also a first line option to other challenges that women face regarding hormonal regulation and symptoms.
1. Fiscus J, Garton C, Kovnat S, Woznicki C, Lynch S. Knowledge and perceptions of New York state women towards pharmacist prescribed hormonal contraception. Presented at American Society of Health-System Pharmacists 2022 Midyear Clinical Meeting and Exhibition; December 4-8, 2022; Las Vegas, NV. Poster 5-205.