Pharmacist-Prescribed Hormonal Contraception: A Review of the Current Landscape

Journal of the American Pharmacists Association 1-9 (2019) (Forthcoming)

University of Utah College of Law Research Paper No. 343

Posted: 13 Aug 2019 Last revised: 6 Nov 2019

See all articles by Casey R. Tak

Casey R. Tak

Division of Pharmaceutical Outcomes and Policy, Eshelman School of Pharmacy, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Laura T. Kessler

University of Utah - S.J. Quinney College of Law

Mollie Ashe Scott

Division of Practice Advancement and Clinical Education, Eshelman School of Pharmacy, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Karen M. Gunning

Department of Pharmacotherapy, College of Pharmacy, University of Utah

Date Written: February 27, 2019

Abstract

Objective: The objective of this article is to review the current supply-side, demand-side, and regulatory landscape of pharmacist-prescribed hormonal contraception (HC) in the United States.

Summary: At least ten states have authorized pharmacists to prescribe HC. Several others are considering legislation to promote or advance pharmacist-prescribed HC models. From the perspective of the supply-side, pharmacists appear to be supportive of pharmacist-prescribed HC. This is especially pronounced in female pharmacists or pharmacists who have no religious objections. However, support does not necessarily indicate likelihood of implementing the practice, as a significant number of pharmacists report that they have little expertise with HC. The likelihood of implementation can be increased with education and training of HC prescribing by pharmacy schools and colleges. The federal government and many states have passed legislation allowing pharmacists and other health care professionals to refuse to provide certain services on the grounds of moral opposition, religious or otherwise. As a result of these conscientious objector laws, it is possible that refusal to prescribe will present a major obstacle to successful implementation of pharmacist-prescribed HC, especially in areas where pharmacies are less available, such as rural regions and some inner-city areas. Investigations of the demand for pharmacist-prescribed HC suggest that women broadly support accessing contraception within a pharmacy. Expanded access, where available, could improve rates of use and adherence. Women at higher risk for unintended pregnancy, such as younger women and women without health insurance, are likely to utilize the pharmacy to procure HC given increased privacy and convenience. However, research suggests that despite a willingness to pay for HC consultations with pharmacists, costs remain as a significant barrier for many women.

Conclusions: Expanding access to HC through pharmacist-prescriptive authority could help curb the rates of unintended pregnancy in the United States. Pharmacists are well positioned for such a role; however, significant barriers for pharmacists and patients remain. Examination of current implementation methods will assist policy makers in overcoming these barriers.

Keywords: contraception, contraceptives, reproductive rights, family law, abortion, women, conscience clause, religious freedom, Religious Freedom Restoration Act, RFRA, pregnancy, unintended pregnancy, health law, Roe v. Wade

JEL Classification: I12, I14, I18, Z12, Z18, I1, I10

Suggested Citation

Tak, Casey and Kessler, Laura T. and Scott, Mollie and Gunning, Karen, Pharmacist-Prescribed Hormonal Contraception: A Review of the Current Landscape (February 27, 2019). Journal of the American Pharmacists Association 1-9 (2019) (Forthcoming) , University of Utah College of Law Research Paper No. 343, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3434737

Casey Tak (Contact Author)

Division of Pharmaceutical Outcomes and Policy, Eshelman School of Pharmacy, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill ( email )

United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://pharmacy.unc.edu/news/directory/caseytak/

Laura T. Kessler

University of Utah - S.J. Quinney College of Law ( email )

383 South University St.
Salt Lake City, UT 84112-0730
United States
801-585-9697 (Phone)
801-581-6897 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://faculty.utah.edu/u0294453-LAURA_T_KESSLER/hm/index.hml

Mollie Scott

Division of Practice Advancement and Clinical Education, Eshelman School of Pharmacy, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill ( email )

United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://pharmacy.unc.edu/news/directory/mollies/

Karen Gunning

Department of Pharmacotherapy, College of Pharmacy, University of Utah ( email )

Salt Lake City, UT
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://pharmacy.utah.edu/pharmacotherapy/faculty/gunning.php

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
13
Abstract Views
396
PlumX Metrics