Policy Recommendation

Increase Access to Contraception via Pharmacist Prescribing During COVID-19

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UC San Diego Health

Below is an excerpt of a policy brief written by Sally Rafie in August 2020.

As a result of COVID-19, shifts in traditional contraception access points have led to additional challenges, leading many people to seek contraception care from other avenues, such as pharmacies and online services. Pharmacies are an important access point for contraception with expanded hours and generally do not require appointments. Nearly all Americans (86%) live within 5-miles of a community pharmacy and visit frequently for a variety of reasons. Black women may live closer to a pharmacy than White women.

One strategy to increase access to contraception is direct access in community pharmacies. This is achieved at the state level by expanding pharmacist scope of practice to include prescribing contraception, also known as pharmacy access to contraception. Direct pharmacy access to contraception can significantly increase the safety and privacy of people seeking contraception care.  Policymakers should eliminate barriers to pharmacist contraception services and increase access to this essential service during this public health emergency.