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Am J Public Health. 2010 Jun;100(6):1130-6. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2009.179887. Epub 2010 Apr 15.

Clinic versus over-the-counter access to oral contraception: choices women make along the US-Mexico border.

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  • 1Population Research Center, 1 University Station G1800, Austin, TX 78712, USA. joe@prc.utexas.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

As part of the Border Contraceptive Access Study, we interviewed oral contraceptive (OC) users living in El Paso, Texas, to assess motivations for patronizing a US clinic or a Mexican pharmacy with over-the-counter (OTC) pills and to determine which women were likely to use the OTC option.

METHODS:

We surveyed 532 clinic users and 514 pharmacy users about background characteristics, motivations for choosing their OC source, and satisfaction with this source.

RESULTS:

Older women and women born and educated in Mexico were more likely to patronize pharmacies. Cost of pills was the main motivation for choosing their source for 40% of pharmacy users and 23% of clinic users. The main advantage cited by 49% of clinic users was availability of other health services. Bypassing the requirement to obtain a doctor's prescription was most important for 27% of pharmacy users. Both groups were very satisfied with their pill source.

CONCLUSIONS:

Women of different ages, parities, and educational levels would likely take advantage of an OTC option were OCs available at low cost. Improving clinic provision of OCs should be considered.

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