The acceptability of contraception task-sharing among pharmacists in Canada — the ACT-Pharm study
Access to prescription contraception is often limited by the availability of physicians, particularly in rural areas. Pharmacists are available but are not authorized in Canada to prescribe contraceptives, an innovation proved successful in the United States. It is unknown whether Canadian pharmacists, particularly those in rural areas, are willing to adopt this innovation and what barriers and facilitators they predict. We explored the acceptability and feasibility for independent provision of
... contraception at pharmacies throughout British Columbia (BC). Methods: This mixed-methods study used validated questionnaires followed by optional structured interviews among all rural, and a sample of urban, community pharmacies in BC. Analyses use descriptive, logistic regression and qualitative thematic evaluation. Results: Responding community pharmacies represent all geographic health regions of BC and the range of pharmacy business models. Respondents reported a mean of 17 years in practice. Seventy percent of pharmacies reported a private counseling area. Over 80%, including pharmacies in all regions, indicated willingness to prescribe hormonal contraceptives. Factors associated with willingness to prescribe were comfort using a protocol to assess sexual history, confidence about staff availability and public acceptability, and fewer years in practice. Pharmacists requested training in assessment protocols and liability issues prior to implementation. Interpretation: Pharmacies from all areas throughout BC, responded and report a high degree of acceptability and feasibility for independent prescription of hormonal contraceptives. As pharmacists are often the most accessible health professional in rural areas, pharmacist provision of hormonal contraceptives has potential to improve access to contraception.