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Community perspectives on pharmacist-prescribed hormonal contraception in rural California

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In the United States, numerous states have enabled pharmacists to prescribe hormonal contraception. Little research focuses on the perspectives of potential users of this service in rural communities. This study sought to describe awareness of, interest in, acceptability of, and support for pharmacist-prescribed contraception in a rural California county.

Study design

We conducted a community-based survey in 2019-20 in Tulare County, California. Researchers partnered with community members to design, implement, and analyze the survey. We recruited respondents who were ages 15 to 44 and assigned female sex at birth, using passive community-based approaches, social media advertisements, and social networks. Analyses focused on 177 respondents with a potential future need for contraception.


Thirty-one percent of respondents were aware that pharmacists could prescribe hormonal contraception in California, with more accurate knowledge among older respondents (p = 0.015). After receiving brief educational information about pharmacist-prescribed contraception, respondents expressed high levels of support and acceptability: they perceived pharmacist-prescribed contraception to be safe, time saving, and more convenient. Respondents were more comfortable talking about contraception with traditional contraceptive care providers compared to asking pharmacists questions about contraception. Fifty-seven percent were somewhat or very interested in obtaining contraception from a pharmacist, with higher levels of interest among those who preferred to use a different method.


Awareness of pharmacist-prescribed contraception in a rural California community was low, though people are supportive of and interested in utilizing this service. This research suggests that increased availability of pharmacist-prescribed contraception could support individuals' reproductive self-determination and address gaps in access.


Despite limited awareness of pharmacist-prescribed contraception, interest in using and community support for this service was high in a rural California community. This analysis suggests that increased availability of pharmacist-prescribed contraception could support reproductive self-determination and address access barriers, particularly for people whose contraceptive needs are not currently being met.

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