A telephone survey early last year of 315 of the 3200 Pennsylvania pharmacies found that 65% of the pharmacists were unable to fill a prescription for emergency contraception (sometimes called the morning-after pill) on the day the prescription was received. A delay in filling the prescription can reduce the pill's effectiveness in preventing unintended pregnancy, according to a report published in Contraception (October 2003).
Lead author Wendy Bennett said that the biggest obstacle was pharmacists' lack of knowledge about emergency contraception?not their opposition to it. "Maybe their lack of knowledge is because the drug companies have not been [informing] them, or because there hasn't been enough community demand," she said. "But this study suggests that if we can give them the knowledge, they will stock it."
The survey found that, of the pharmacists who were unable to fill a sameday prescription, 7% stated personal beliefs as the reason; 6% said that it was against store policy; and nearly 80% said that they did not carry it. For the survey, women posing as customers called the pharmacies, asked questions, and documented pharmacists? responses.