Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:

Head To Head

Should the contraceptive pill be available without prescription? No

BMJ 2008; 337 doi: (Published 24 December 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;337:a3056

Rapid Response:

Re: Prescribing Oral Contraceptives - Another Pharmacist's View

I would like to offer a different pharmacist's perspective on this
issue. As a pharmacist who is dedicated to caring for patients, I
wholeheartedly support pharmacist participation in the provision of
hormonal contraceptives. Pharmacists are well trained to provide patients
with the pill, patch, ring and injectable forms of hormonal contraception.

There is no argument that time is a limiting factor to provision of
these services in the pharmacy, however this can be overcome if the
pharmacy chooses to expand their services beyond dispensing. This barrier
could be eliminated if the pharmacy was able to bill for the services,
rather than just the product. This reimbursement issue needs to be
explored by government and private payors.

Pharmacists can effectively evaluate the patient's self-reported (as
it always is) medical history and blood pressure to assess contraceptive
options. It is well known that a physical exam is not necessary to
determine a woman’s candidacy for hormonal contraception. Hormonal
contraceptives are extremely safe and effective, but only when made
available and taken. An unintended pregnancy can have far more grave
consequences for a woman.

I would welcome any flock of women seeking contraception. This is
exactly what we should encourage, women empowered to seek health care and
family planning services.

Competing interests:
None declared

Competing interests: No competing interests

06 January 2009
Sally Rafie
University of California, San Diego Medical Center (92103)