Pharmacy Access Partnership assists pharmacy and advocacy communities to improve how women access reproductive health services in pharmacies by promoting communication, convening meetings, leveraging resources, supporting research, providing technical assistance, conducting trainings and building an understanding of options for change at the state and national level.
For example, Pharmacy Access Partnership created www.GO2EC.org to track and share national and state-level policies, activities and best practices to improving access to EC. On August 24, 2006, the FDA decided to make Plan B EC available without a prescription for consumers 18 and older. On April 22, 2009, the FDA announced that it would allow 17-year olds to purchase Plan B OTC. Although the federal government has the sole authority to change a drug status from prescriptive to over-the-counter (OTC), states have considerable power, deciding who can prescribe. Currently nine states (AK, CA, HI, MA, ME, NH, NM, WA and VT) allow women to access EC directly at the pharmacy, and a number of states have introduced legislation to adopt similar policies. Following the FDA decision, all women (including teens and women without proof of age) can obtain EC directly from specially trained pharmacists (in the states that allow pharmacy access to EC). Click here for more information on the FDA decision.
National STATES Network
Pharmacy Access Partnership was an early and important convener in bringing the pharmacy community and advocacy communities together to advance policy and practices in retail pharmacies. In May 2008, we hosted our sixth annual STATES (States Take Action Toward EC Services) Meeting in San Francisco. Participants from 14 states and Canadian provinces, and national organizations, representing pharmacy, medical and reproductive rights/advocacy communities convened to network and share lessons learned and best practices to promote access to reproductive health services in pharmacies and other health care settings. Participants discussed myriad collaboration opportunities to advance access to EC and other hormonal contraceptives, STI prevention, and youth services through policy change, media-based efforts, training & educational materials, research projects and work with schools of pharmacy nationally. Many of the efforts that state-level and national organizations are involved with are highlighted here. For more information about the national STATES network or to provide an update on your organization’s current work, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pharmacy Access Partnership made a committed investment in promoting expanded access to EC at the state and national levels. Through generous funding support from the Hewlett Foundation, Pharmacy Access Partnership created the States Take Action Toward EC Services (STATES) Re-granting Program to provide direct financial support to stimulate emergent efforts at the individual state level.
Through a competitive application process, Pharmacy Access Partnership selected seven outstanding proposals (from a total of 24 applications) to receive funds ($5,000 to $20,000) for focused short-term efforts: March – October 2006. Organizational grantees selected for funding – Planned Parenthood of Delaware; Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies Coalition of Hawaii; ACLU of Illinois; Pro-Choice Massachusetts Foundation; ACLU of Mississippi; Planned Parenthood of Northern New England (New Hampshire and Vermont) – clearly identified their potential to: (1) effectively leverage momentum achieved by current or past state level activity or (2) initiate new engagement among a cross-section of stakeholders in states where little activity has occurred. Selected grantees effectively proposed efforts to include and increase the commitment of pharmacy stakeholders to address EC, thereby increasing the number of pharmacies and pharmacists that provide EC.
For an overview of lessons learned, see our published editorial in Contraception.