Barriers to Single-Dose Levonorgestrel-Only Emergency Contraception Access in Retail Pharmacies
By: Chau VM, Stamm CA, Borgelt L, Gaffaney M, Moore A, Blumhagen RZ, Rupp L, Topp D, Gilroy C.
Women’s Health Issues 2017; 27: 518-22.
Summary: In February 2014, the US FDA updated its regulations to make all single-dose levonorgestrel-only emergency contraception (LNG-EC) available OTC. 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. 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.
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, but were significantly different across independent, chain, and 24-hour type stores.