Expert Perspectives on Contraception Options: Where Are We Today? - Episode 4
Experts in gynecology consider the role of pharmacists and other healthcare providers in contraceptive counseling and education.
Jenna Beckham, MD, MSPH, FACOG: As we're talking about other providers being involved in birth control or contraception management. Let's talk about what your thoughts about pharmacists being involved in the contraceptive counseling piece for our patients.
Thomas Kimble, MD: There is too much of a shortage of physician and other healthcare providers right now. And we have this very knowledgeable and talented group that we haven't tapped into historically. I sit on one of the commissions in Virginia to try to increase contraception access. And I'm excited to say in the state of Virginia, pharmacists now can authorize the prescription of certain contraceptives. And they can provide them as well. That was a great leap. It's going to increase access. Some physicians are a little hesitant about that. We are not taken out of the equation; they are still going to see us. The pharmacists are still telling these patients to come see us and have a conversation. We help them develop guidelines and protocols for what to follow and when to send them to us, and when not to prescribe certain types of birth control. But again, that was a gap that we have now found a resource that is very available in the community where patients can go and get contraception. One of the biggest impacts is you had mentioned before, post-coital types of birth control. And we know that the levonorgestrel one-time pill is over the counter but it's maybe not the most effective form of post-coital birth control. We've got another one that is highly effective that ulipristal acetate but it's behind the counter in most states. It's great that now pharmacists can provide it.
Jenna Beckham, MD, MSPH, FACOG: I completely agree. I wish that more states would follow Virginia's lead and hopefully, they will. But as you mentioned there, a resource full of expertise in medication management is what they do. And I think that they really can help with that access piece for patients. So, I agree. I think that they are an underutilized resource and hopefully, we'll start working to utilize them more.
Transcript edited for clarity