Availability and Accuracy of Information Regarding Nonprescription Emergency Contraception

Katherine Kelly Orr, University of Rhode Island
Virginia A. Lemay, University of Rhode Island
Amanda P. Wojtusik, Providence Medical Group
Margaret Opydo-Rossoni, CVS
Lisa B. Cohen, University of Rhode Island


Background: Although access to emergency contraception (EC) has increased with nonprescription status and approval of Plan B One-Step without age restrictions, barriers may still remain in patient education. This study assesses product availability and accuracy of information for EC among community pharmacies in Rhode Island, comparing changes from 2009 to 2012. Methods: Two female investigators posing as patients seeking EC followed a standardized script over telephone conversations. Investigators assessed EC availability, product use information, and cost at all community (retail) pharmacies in Rhode Island. Data were reported as group results with no identifiers. Chi-square and Fisher exact tests were used to analyze results. Results: During spring of 2009 and 2012, 165 and 171 pharmacies were telephoned, respectively. Approximately 90% of pharmacies stocked EC both years. In all, 62% versus 28% (P <.001) indicated EC should be taken as soon as possible; 82.5% versus 87.7% (P =.220) provided correct administration information; 67% versus 84% (P <.001) warned about adverse effects; and 67% versus 53% (P =.123) provided the correct minimum age for purchase. Conclusions: Access to nonprescription EC in Rhode Island is very good. Sites not stocking EC should reassess plans for patients to obtain medication. There is need for reeducation on EC labeling to improve counseling provided over the telephone.