Knowledge, attitudes and practices in a group of pharmacists in Puerto Rico regarding emergency contraception

Elizabeth C. Fuentes, Yamila Azize-Vargas


Background: The recent FDA approval of non-prescription sales of Plan B, an emergency contraceptive method to those 18 years old and over, gives a prominent role to pharmacists in providing timely access to emergency contraception (EC). While this decision affects Puerto Rico, no studies on non-prescription EC in Puerto Rico have been conducted. The purpose of this study is to identify the knowledge, attitudes and practices of a group of pharmacists in Puerto Rico regarding emergency contraceptive pills. Methods: A cross-sectional descriptive study of a group of pharmacists’ knowledge, attitudes, and practices regarding EC was conducted among those who attended the annual convention of the College of Pharmacists of Puerto Rico on August 24-26, 2006. Results: Slightly more than half of pharmacists surveyed (51.4%) supported a law that allows them to dispense EC without a prescription. Yet, overall EC knowledge was low given that the average number of knowledge questions answered correctly was 1.8 (SD±1.36) out of 6. Pharmacists who correctly answered knowledge questions about EC, whose pharmacy dispensed EC, and who felt comfortable giving information to a client about EC were significantly more likely to support the non-prescription EC law. Conclusion: Knowledge about EC was low among the pharmacists that were surveyed, but there was support for a non-prescription EC policy in Puerto Rico. Increased education efforts are needed in this important group of allied health professionals.

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Published by the University of Puerto Rico Medical Sciences Campus
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