Federal regulations require that emergency contraception -- such as the brand Plan B -- be available over the counter. But in Colorado, women may still experience barriers when obtaining it. A team of researchers found the drug was fully accessible at less than a quarter of the pharmacies surveyed in the state.
“Around 87 percent of the pharmacies would report that they had emergency contraception,” says Dr. Carol Stamm, who initiated the study at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. “Then as we followed our telephone script--which was standardized--we encountered barriers such as, ‘well, you would need to show an ID,’ or the product was not available on the counter.”
That means a customer couldn’t just walk in and purchase it -- she’d have to go to the pharmacy counter.
“In some cases it was kept in a locked plastic container or a locked cabinet, so you would have to ask the assistance of pharmacy staff or store staff to get it,” Stamm says.