Oregon Foundation for Reproductive Health

A non-profit advocacy organization that provides a channel for Oregon women’s voices to be heard, especially those historically under-served.

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Emergency Contraception Access Project

Emergency Contraception Access Project

In collaboration with the Oregon Health Authority and the Oregon Board of Pharmacy, we created a pharmacist survey and a consumer questionnaire to assess the access of Over-the-Counter emergency contraception in Oregon.  The June 2013 ruling that Plan-B One Step could be sold OTC, and the 2014 ruling that generic EC can also be sold OTC, have changed the game for accessing EC.

We developed an Oregon specific handout with the most current information on point-of-sale requirements for all EC brands: EC Fact Sheets for Pharmacists: Download

This includes information on billing insurance and Medicaid (Even for OTC!) and the Oregon Board of Pharmacy’s Position Statement on the Moral and Ethical Objections for guidance on developing written policies and procedures that address pharmacists’ moral, ethical, and professional responsibilities.

Recommended Reading

Past Advocacy
In 2015 we contributed to the national survey conducted by ASEC to learn if retail stores were following the law and best practice recommendations to stocking and dispensing EC. Findings in Brief:

  • A majority of the stores in this sample (64%) stock EC on the shelf (vs 49% in 2014)
  • Among stores that do stock EC on the shelf, 46% lock the product in a case or box that must be unlocked by a store employee (vs 63% in 2014)
  • For 67% of participants, finding EC in the store was somewhat/very easy (vs 50% in 2014)
  • 39% of stores impose an age restriction to purchase EC
  • The average price of Plan B One-Step® is almost $50 and one-dose generics cost about $40 (no change compared with 2014)
  • While there are improvements in some areas compared to the 2014 EC Access Report, full OTC access is not yet a reality

Click here to read the full report.

In 2013 we sent a letter to almost 700 pharmacists across the state to educate about the importance of Emergency Contraception (EC) and to inform of the Oregon Contraceptive Care (CCare) funding program that helps women cover the cost of EC and other birth control methods.  We also let pharmacists know that they can bill the Oregon Health Plan for over-the-counter EC for women,  getting this time-sensitive medication to women in a more timely manner!

In 2005, we launched a Prevention First Initiative to advance policy solutions to prevent unintended pregnancies and  the Emergency Contraception (EC) Access Project was launched as part of this Initiative. The EC Access project initially focused on increasing women’s pharmacy access to emergency contraception in rural areas. The three pronged project focused on pharmacist; primary care provider education and consumer education. Emergency Birth Control Access Project to improve awareness of and access to emergency contraception throughout Oregon, especially in rural areas.  As a result of this project:

  • Secured a Board of Pharmacy policy that requires seamless pharmacy access to emergency contraception
    • Considering Moral and Ethical Objections: Oregon pharmacists cannot interfere with a patient’s lawfully and appropriately prescribed drug therapy or request for drugs and devices approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for restricted distribution by pharmacies. 
  • Trained over 400 pharmacists in rural Oregon on EC 101
  • Increased the number of rural pharmacies stocking and dispensing EC by 40%.
  • Improved the accuracy of pharmacist EC knowledge and education by 75%.