Emergency contraception from the pharmacy 20 years on: a mystery shopper study

Glasier, A., Baraitser, P., McDaid, L. , Norrie, J., Radley, A., Stephenson, J. M., Battison, C., Gilson, R. and Cameron, S. (2020) Emergency contraception from the pharmacy 20 years on: a mystery shopper study. BMJ Sexual and Reproductive Health, (doi: 10.1136/bmjsrh-2020-200648) (PMID:32554399) (Early Online Publication)

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Abstract

Background: Emergency contraception (EC) was approved in the UK as a pharmacy medicine for purchase without prescription in 2001. Twenty years later we conducted a study to characterise routine practice pharmacy provision of EC. Study design: Mystery shopper study of 30 pharmacies in Edinburgh, Dundee and London participating in a clinical trial of contraception after EC. Methods: Mystery shoppers, aged ≥16 years, followed a standard scenario requesting EC. After the pharmacy visit, they completed a proforma recording the duration of the consultation, where it took place, and whether advice was given to them about the importance of ongoing contraception after EC. Results: Fifty-five mystery shopper visits were conducted. The median reported duration of the consultation with the pharmacist was 6 (range 1–18) min. Consultations took place in a private room in 34 cases (62%) and at the shop counter in the remainder. In 27 cases (49%) women received advice about ongoing contraception. Eleven women (20%) left the pharmacy without EC due to lack of supplies or of a trained pharmacist. Most women were generally positive about the consultation. Conclusions: While availability of EC from UK pharmacies has undoubtedly improved access, the necessity to have a consultation, however helpful, with a pharmacist introduces delays and around one in five of our mystery shoppers left without getting EC. Consultations in private are not always possible and little advice is given about ongoing contraception. It is time to make EC available without a pharmacy consultation.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:The Bridge-It study is funded by the National Institute for Health Research’s (NIHR) Health Technology Assessment (HTA) Programme (HTA Project:15/113/01). LM is funded by the UK Medical Research Council (MRC) and Scottish Government Chief Scientist Office (CSO) at the MRC/CSO Social & Public Health Sciences Unit, University of Glasgow (MC_UU_12017/11, SPHSU11).
Status:Early Online Publication
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:McDaid, Professor Lisa
Authors: Glasier, A., Baraitser, P., McDaid, L., Norrie, J., Radley, A., Stephenson, J. M., Battison, C., Gilson, R., and Cameron, S.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > MRC/CSO SPHSU
Journal Name:BMJ Sexual and Reproductive Health
Publisher:BMJ Publishing Group
ISSN:2515-1991
ISSN (Online):2515-2009
Published Online:17 June 2020
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2020 The Authors
First Published:First published in BMJ Sexual and Reproductive Health 2020
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
727631SPHSU Core Renewal: Relationships & Health Improvement Research ProgrammeLisa McDaidMedical Research Council (MRC)MC_UU_12017/11IHW - MRC/CSO SPHU
SPHSU11