(Forthcoming; Youth Sexual Health Team Seed Grant)
Principal Investigator(s): Judith Soon
Co-Investigator(s): Marc Levine; Wendy Norman
Knowledge User(s): Perry Kendall; Cheryl Davies; Joan Geber
Unintended pregnancy remains a major public health issue in BC, despite evidence that emergency contraceptives (ECs) are safe, easy to use, and effective in preventing unwanted pregnancies. In 2000, to reduce barriers of timely access to ECs, particularly in rural and remote regions, a unique broad-based, collaborative effort was implemented utilizing specially-trained pharmacists to expand access to ECs throughout BC. To determine potential challenges related to access to ECs, a survey “Barriers to Emergency Contraceptive Use” was conducted from June to December 2002. Since that time, legislative and regulatory changes at the national and provincial level have been implemented with the objective of expanding access to EC. In BC, the EC agent Plan B® became “behind-the-counter” in community pharmacies in May 2007 and “over-the-counter” in April 2009. The focus of this study is to evaluate changes over time in the knowledge, access and use of EC and hormonal contraceptives among women in BC. The study investigates the willingness of women to obtain highly effective contraception and related sexual health services directly from pharmacists to improve access and convenience, and aims to generate new knowledge for health policy makers to support implementation of evidenced-based, sustainable, integrated and standardized contraception pharmacy services for youth and adults in BC.