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Exploring the Availability of Emergency Contraception in New Brunswick Pharmacies: A Mystery-Client Telephone Study

Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON K1N 6N5, Canada
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Pharmacy 2020, 8(2), 76;
Received: 21 February 2020 / Revised: 5 April 2020 / Accepted: 25 April 2020 / Published: 30 April 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pharmacist Contraception Services)
Although levonorgestrel-only emergency contraceptive pills (LNg-ECPs) have been available over the counter in Canada for more than a decade, barriers to access persist. We aimed to obtain information about the availability and cost of LNg-ECPs in New Brunswick. Using a mystery-client study design, we called all 207 non-specialty pharmacies in the province posing as a 17-year-old woman seeking something to prevent pregnancy after sex. We evaluated the information provided for accuracy and quality. The overwhelming majority of pharmacies (n = 180, 87%) had at least one brand of LNg-ECPs in stock; the price averaged CAD28.69 (USD21.65). Although the majority of pharmacy representatives provided accurate information about LNg-ECPs, a small number made incorrect statements about the timeframe for use, side effects, and mechanism of action. In nine interactions (4%) pharmacy representatives incorrectly indicated that a male partner could not obtain LNg-ECPs; none indicated that parental involvement was required to procure LNg-ECPs. None of the pharmacy representatives referenced any other modality of emergency contraception, including ulipristal acetate. Our findings suggest that LNg-ECPs are widely available and that most pharmacy representatives are providing accurate medical and regulatory information. However, supporting the continuing education of pharmacists and pharmacy staff, particularly around alternative modalities of emergency contraception, appears warranted. View Full-Text
Keywords: Canada; emergency contraception; mystery-client; New Brunswick Canada; emergency contraception; mystery-client; New Brunswick
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Borsella, M.; Foster, A.M. Exploring the Availability of Emergency Contraception in New Brunswick Pharmacies: A Mystery-Client Telephone Study. Pharmacy 2020, 8, 76.

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