Into today’s political environment lots of questions, anxieties, and uncertainty encircles a a woman’s sexual and reproductive rights and healthcare. It also seems that EVERYONE has an opinion on the matter. In the upheaval of misconceptions and judgement it becomes hard to find facts and supportive care and it becomes easy to find pictures of groups made up of only men discussing the fate of women’s healthcare.
This is where PhRESH and the Youth Friendly Pharmacy Network comes in. Let me introduce you to PhRESH. We are a group of pharmacy students at the University of Washington with a goal to make positive impact in our community when it comes to sexual and reproductive health issues.
We aren’t here to replace anything. We think that reproductive and sexual health services currently provided by physician’s clinics and Planned Parenthood is an important part of every woman’s and man’s overall health! We also believe that our community needs more. More access, more affordability and more straightforward information.
To help provide more for the community we are recruiting our community pharmacists in Washington state. Why pharmacists? SO MANY REASONS! Pharmacists are the most accessible healthcare provider. You don’t need an appointment to see you pharmacist, and many pharmacies have longer hours of operation, some even open 24 hours a day! Additionally pharmacists in Washington state have prescriptive authority through CDTAs. The details of a CDTA aren’t important, (or rather it’s a bit boring), but what it means for patients is they can receive certain clinical services in the community pharmacy and have medications prescribed to them by a pharmacist on such a visit. One of those possible clinical services is pharmacist prescribed emergency contraception.
Now you may be thinking, “Wait, I thought emergency contraception was available over the counter? Wouldn’t prescribing it make it harder to get??” In which case, great question! Pharmacists prescribing contraception can actually lower barriers that some patients experience when they need emergency contraception. By receiving a prescription, insurance can now be used to pay for the medication often times at zero cost to the patient. Plan B One Step typically retails in the US for $49.99 + tax. If we can significantly reduce this price, then more patients can receive this life changing medication. Also, we should point out that we seek to make this service in addition to over the counter emergency contraception, not take that away.
Additionally, Ella is an emergency contraception available only by prescription. However, Ella is actually the most effective oral emergency contraception. Ella has a longer efficacy window than Plan B (levonorgestrel), but all emergency contraception is more effective the earlier it is used. It is a HUGE misconception that emergency contraception is an abortion pill. Nope! Emergency contraception can only prevent pregnancies from occurring in the first place. Condom break? Diaphragm slip? Realize you missed a day or two of your birth control? Or are you sexual assault victim? These are just a few reasons why you may need emergency contraception to prevent an unwanted pregnancy. Which is why emergency contraception is actually an extremely useful tool to preventing unplanned pregnancies and abortions, but time is key. So by having walk-in prescriptive services in the pharmacy, patients can potentially receive Ella or Plan B (levonorgestrel) much sooner than if they made an appointment at a clinic or used a pharmacy mail service.
How you can find your Youth Friendly Pharmacy? Visit our website and use the map to see the closest location to you. Right now we have 31 pharmacies registered in our network, and they are spread out over the state. While they are registered, they are still getting their pharmacists trained and those CDTAs in place. You can see the 31 pending pharmacies on our map now and their debut will be coming very soon!
How can you identify a Youth Friendly Pharmacy in the wild? Spot the network logo! Our heart in hands logo is a sure sign that you have found a pharmacy dedicated to providing youth and adults alike a safe, non-judgmental atmosphere as they seek emergency contraception.
Want to help us build our network? Spread the word! What good is access if no one knows about it? You can like our facebook page or follow us on twitter. Right now you can also support us by sporting some Youth Friendly Pharmacy Network fashion. All proceeds go directly to helping us produce more resources for our network pharmacies making it easy on them to provide this service to the community. Also, your fashion choice can help raise awareness so that our logo becomes easy for everyone who needs our services to recognize! Visit: https://www.booster.com/youth-friendly-pharmacy
Are you an advocacy group that also wants to increase access to emergency contraception? Are you wondering if we would like to collaborate or share ideas and information to further both of our goals? You bet we would! Use the contact form to reach out to us!