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Contraception. 2006 Apr;73(4):382-5. Epub 2006 Jan 20.

Availability of emergency contraception at rural and urban pharmacies in Pennsylvania.

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  • 1Division of General Internal Medicine, Department of Medicine, Pennsylvania State College of Medicine, Hershey, 17033, USA. cchuang@psu.edu



Pharmacy availability of emergency contraception (EC) is necessary for timely access to this important contraceptive method. This is especially important in rural areas where pharmacies are fewer and further apart.


This study was conducted using a telephone survey of 186 pharmacies located in the northeast region of Pennsylvania.


Only 32% of the pharmacies had EC in stock, which did not differ by rural or urban location. Pharmacies that stocked EC in rural counties were less likely to have evening store hours compared with urban counties (p=.01). Pharmacies that did not stock EC most frequently cited lack of perceived need as the reason (61%).


Emergency contraception availability in pharmacies is uniformly low in this region of Pennsylvania, creating a significant access barrier. Although there were no significant differences in EC availability between rural and urban pharmacies, additional barriers in rural settings could impede timely access to EC for rural women.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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