Pharmacists expand access to reproductive heaLthcare: PEARL study protocol

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7 Scopus citations


Background: In 2016, Oregon became the first of eight states to allow pharmacists to directly prescribe hormonal contraception (HC), including the pill, patch, or ring, without a clinic visit. In the two years following this policy change, the majority of ZIP codes across the state of Oregon had a pharmacist certified to prescribe HC. Methods: We will utilize complementary methodologies to evaluate the effect of this policy change on convenient access to contraception (cost, supply dispensed), safety, contraceptive continuation and unintended pregnancy rates. We will conduct a prospective clinical cohort study to directly measure the impact of provider type on contraceptive continuation and to understand who is accessing hormonal contraception directly from pharmacists. We will concurrently conduct a retrospective analysis using medical claims data to evaluate the state-level effect of the policy. We will examine contraceptive continuation rates, incident pregnancy, and safety measures. The combination of these methodologies allows us to examine key woman-level factors, such as pregnancy intention and usual place of care, while also estimating the impact of the pharmacist prescription policy at the state level. Discussion: Pharmacist prescription of HC is emerging nationally as a strategy to reduce unintended pregnancy. This study will provide data on the effect of this practice on convenient access to care, contraceptive safety and continuation rates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number207
JournalBMC health services research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 1 2019


  • Access to care
  • Continuation
  • Hormonal contraception
  • Pharmacists

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy


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