Knowledge and opinion of pharmacists on emergency contraceptive pills in Hungary
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Background Emergency contraceptive pills (ECPs) are used to prevent unintended pregnancy. There is a worldwide intention to improve access to ECPs; therefore, identifying potential barriers to introducing over-the counter (OTC) access is of utmost importance. As pharmacists are the key personnel to convey accurate drug information, their knowledge and attitude on ECPs is important. Objective We aimed to conduct a nationwide study to assess pharmacists’ knowledge on ECPs and to survey their opinion on sales category change of ECPs (i.e. to introduce OTC access in pharmacies). Setting Registered pharmacists in Hungary. Method A prospective cross-sectional study was conducted with an anonymous, web-based questionnaire. Univariate analysis (Mann–Whitney U test and Fischer’s exact test) was used to identify factors associated with supportive opinion toward OTC provision. Main outcome measure Knowledge level of pharmacists, proportion of pharmacists with supportive opinion on OTC access. Results 357 out of 2019 pharmacists completed the questionnaire, yielding a 17.7% response rate. Almost 30% of pharmacists (N = 99) agreed that ECPs should have an OTC availability in Hungary. More than 40% of pharmacists (N = 145) considered ECPs as contraceptives. On average, 55.18% (standard deviation: ±12.40%) of the answers were correct, showing moderate knowledge of the pharmacists. Age and rating ECPs as contraceptives were significantly associated with supportive opinion toward OTC provision (p < 0.001). The effect of knowledge on the pharmacist’s opinion was significant in young pharmacists (p = 0.02). Conclusion Pharmacists’ knowledge and opinion on ECPs should be improved, especially that of the young ones. Currently the attitude of pharmacists does not favor sales category changes of ECPs in Hungary.
KeywordsEmergency contraceptives Knowledge Hungary Opinion OTC Pharmacists Questionnaire
We thank all pharmacists who participated in the survey. We also thank L. Toth MD consultant at Leeds University for valuable discussions on the English of our paper. Thanks are due to Cs. Keresztes for editing and proofreading the paper.
This study has not received any funding.
Conflicts of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.
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