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Womens Health Issues. 2017 Sep - Oct;27(5):518-522. doi: 10.1016/j.whi.2017.03.010. Epub 2017 Apr 23.

Barriers to Single-Dose Levonorgestrel-Only Emergency Contraception Access in Retail Pharmacies.

Author information

1
Division of General Internal Medicine, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora, Colorado. Electronic address: van.t.chau@ucdenver.edu.
2
Division of General Internal Medicine, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora, Colorado; Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora, Colorado; Uptown Primary Care, Denver, Colorado.
3
Departments of Clinical Pharmacy and Family Medicine, University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Science, Aurora, Colorado.
4
Division of General Internal Medicine, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora, Colorado.
5
Department of Biostatistics and Informatics, Colorado School of Public Health, Aurora, Colorado.
6
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora, Colorado; Uptown Primary Care, Denver, Colorado.
7
Division of General Internal Medicine, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora, Colorado; Department of Pediatrics, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora, Colorado.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

In February 2014, the Food and Drug Administration updated its regulations to make all single-dose levonorgestrel-only emergency contraception (LNG-EC) available over the counter. This study examines the availability and access to LNG-EC shortly after this policy change, and any additional barriers to obtaining LNG-EC in Colorado retail pharmacies.

STUDY DESIGN:

From June to July 2014, three female interviewers posing as women seeking LNG-EC conducted a telephone survey of all 633 Colorado retail pharmacies listed in The Little Blue Book (2014) phone directory. Completely accessible was defined as LNG-EC available on store shelves for purchase without presentation of an ID or prescription on the day of the call.

RESULTS:

Of 633 pharmacies analyzed, 85.0% (538/633) were in urban settings and 85.3% (540/633) were chain stores. Eighteen of 64 (28.1%) counties in Colorado did not have a pharmacy listed in the phone directory. Overall, 86.9% of pharmacies (550/633) had EC in stock on the day of contact but only 23.2% (147/633) of these had EC completely accessible. Of pharmacies with EC in stock, 41.6% (229/550) kept it behind the counter and 56.0% (308/550) required additional documentation to purchase. In stock and completely accessible rates were not different across rural, urban, and frontier geographic regions within the state (p = .066 and p = .905, respectively), but were significantly different across independent, chain, and 24-hour type stores (p < .001 and p = .008, respectively). In stock rates were 57.5% (42/73), 90.4% (488/540), and 100% (20/20) for independent, chain, and 24-hour stores respectively.

CONCLUSIONS:

Rates of completely accessible LNG-EC are low in Colorado despite high rates of availability. Behind-the-counter status and proof-of-age requirements are identified as the main sources of access restriction in Colorado.

PMID:
28442191
DOI:
10.1016/j.whi.2017.03.010
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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