Almost a third (31%) of women who want to obtain the morning after pill said they were embarrassed to talk to their pharmacist about it, while one in eight (12%) women said they would travel to a different town to buy emergency contraception to avoid seeing anyone they knew in the pharmacy, a survey has found.
A further 26% of women said they would wait until there were no other customers in the pharmacy until they asked about emergency hormonal contraception (EHC).
The survey of more than 2,000 women aged 18–35 years was carried out by the manufacturers of EHC brand ellaOne, which is launching a consultation checklist card designed to help pharmacists triage women requesting EHC and make the process less intimidating for women.
The card can be handed to the pharmacy team who can then decide whether EHC can be provided, or if a more in-depth conversation with a pharmacist is needed.
Other research by the company found that 46% of more than 1,000 women aged 18–35 years had had unprotected sex in the past year, but only 27% had used EHC.
The Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare recommends that healthcare professionals should discuss the need for EHC on an individual basis and inform women about the different methods available.