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Pharmacy access to ulipristal in Hawaii: Is a valid prescription enough?

Holly Bullock, University of Hawaii, 2013

Project abstract

Hawaii is a culturally diverse, multi-ethnic and multi-racial state providing a “majority-minority” research setting for exploring issues of health access and disparities in marginalized populations. With the third highest rate of unintended pregnancy in the nation and the seventeenth highest for teen pregnancies, Hawaii has the potential to see a substantive decrease in the burden of unintended pregnancies through provision of emergency contraception pills (ECPs).

Published studies conducted in other states have found limited pharmacy availability of dedicated ECPs when women attempt to obtain them both with and without a prescription. In 2010, the Federal Drug Administration approved ulipristal acetate (Ella) as an emergency contraceptive pill. Ella requires a prescription, but is more efficacious than levonorgestrel (Plan B, Next Choice), particularly for overweight and obese women. No studies have evaluated pharmacy availability of Ella or compared pharmacy availability of Ella to levonorgestrel ECPs.

The primary objective of this study is to determine the availability of Ella in Hawaii pharmacies. Secondary objectives are to compare the availability of Ella with that of levonorgestrel ECPs and to contrast the information provided by pharmacy staff about ECPs to patients with that provided to physicians. A secret shopper methodology will be used to conduct phone surveys assessing the availability of ECPs in Hawaii pharmacies by research staff representing themselves as patients and physicians. Descriptive statistics will be performed, as well as chi-square tests, student t-tests, and multiple logistic regression.

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