176123 Pharmacists' knowledge of emergency contraception: A secret-shopper telephone survey among New York City pharmacists

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Virginia E. Robertson, MD, MScPH , Bureau of Maternal, Infant and Reproductive Health, New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, New York, NY
Mona Cho, MD , Department of Public Health, NY-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, NY
BACKGROUND: Given Plan B's widespread availability and over-the-counter (OTC) status as a form of emergency contraception (EC), patients are more likely to seek the counsel of pharmacists regarding its use. However, some studies conducted before Plan B achieved OTC status revealed gaps in pharmacists' knowledge of Plan B in terms of how it works and the timing of treatment for it to be effective, as well as misconceptions about EC's link to birth defects and health risks. OBJECTIVE: We aimed to measure the proportion of pharmacists in NYC who provide accurate information regarding dosage, adverse side effects, mechanism of action, and medical contraindications. STUDY DESIGN: An anonymous telephone survey was conducted among a stratified random sample of 303 pharmacists in NYC. Calls were made by a research assistant who posed as a 21-year old female in need of more information of Plan B. RESULTS: We will analyze the data by comparing proportions of pharmacists who demonstrate a critical level of knowledge of Plan B by gender of pharmacist, borough, and chain versus non-chain pharmacy. CONCLUSIONS: The study results will highlight areas of knowledge, if any, in which pharmacists are deficient. Inaccurate information regarding Plan B can be an important barrier to timely and proper use of EC. The results of this study will help inform interventions to reduce barriers to EC at the pharmacy level.

Learning Objectives:
1. Recognize barriers to wider use of Plan B due to continued misconceptions about its use and medication profile among pharmacists and other health care providers. 2. Identify strategies to improve education and training of pharmacists about Plan B in order to enhance patient counseling and proper usage.

Keywords: Contraception, Barriers to Care

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a medical specialist at the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene/Bureau of Maternal, Infant and Reproductive Health. I develop educational programs for providers on emergency contraception and contraception in general, among other topics. I am a practicing primary care clinician and routinely include women's health/reproductive health in my practice.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.