Why Youth-Friendly Pharmacies Matter

Youth Access in Pharmacies is Important

To better meet teens’ needs for reproductive health services, PAP is working with pharmacists, pharmacies, medical providers, community-based youth-serving organizations and teens to develop and implement a Youth-Friendly Pharmacy Initiative (YFPI) in California that may also be replicated nationally. 

  • While Plan B is now available over-the-counter for consumers 17** and over, teens still need a prescription. However, in California and in eight other states, all women regardless of age can get EC directly from a specially trained pharmacist without first getting a prescription. (**In April 2009, the FDA announced that it will allow 17-year olds to purchase Plan B OTC.)

  • Teens tend to wait longer to seek EC because often times they cannot access a provider or pay for services. In a 2004 consumer survey conducted in California pharmacies, respondents under the age of 16 took more than 24 hours longer to get EC from the pharmacy than older women.

  • Focus group research conducted by PAP and PIWH with adolescent African American and Latina girls in California shows over half of participants frequented the pharmacy regularly, but only 15% knew they could obtain EC directly from the pharmacist. Lack of awareness about EC appears to be higher among young women than their adult counterparts.

  • Teens identified specialized approaches to attract, serve and retain teens as reproductive health clients, including: providers trained to address adolescents’ specific biological, psychological and health needs, reasonably priced services, flexible hours, confidentiality, in-store privacy, provider respect, accurate information, and culturally competent services.

  • Many young people do not have access to a health care provider, do not have transportation to reach health services and may feel shame or embarrassment in visiting a family practitioner for sexual health issues. Pharmacies’ geographical accessibility also makes them an attractive and convenient health venue for teens.

YFPI Components

  • Collaborate with youth to improve awareness of pharmacy services and develop youth-friendly pharmacy resources and tools, including information on comprehensive sexual education
  • Develop and deliver pharmacist training on youth-friendly pharmacy services
  • Recruit pharmacies to implement youth-friendly services
  • Outreach to and partner with youth-based organizations to promote pharmacies offering youth-friendly services
  • Provide youth-friendly tools, policies and practices to teachers and educators

For more information about Youth-Friendly Pharmacy services, resources or opportunities for collaboration, please contact Nicole Monastersky Maderas, MPH at nmaderas@piwh.org.