Role of the community pharmacist in emergency contraception counseling and delivery

Unintended pregnancies, at a rate of 45%, continue to be a problem in the United States; but the numbers could fall as emergency contraception (EC) becomes more widely available and utilized.

Unintended pregnancies, at a rate of 45%, continue to be a problem in the United States; but the numbers could fall as emergency contraception (EC) becomes more widely available and utilized. To open this option up to more women and couples, community pharmacies can serve as a point of access not only for the two EC medications that are available with a doctor's order but also for the single OTC product. The key responsibilities for pharmacists would be to stay current on the facts pertaining to EC medications, ensure that the shelves are stocked with it, and provide thorough user counseling. Only eight states allow pharmacists to prescribe and provide EC directly, however, so there is great opportunity for expansion. The authors suggest incorporating EC into pharmacy education and training as well as legally expanding pharmacists' range of practice. In addition, they emphasize the importance of ensuring third-party reimbursement for pharmacy-provided clinical services, such as EC prescribing.