Morning after pill brand ellaOne has launched a consultation checklist card for women to fill in when purchasing emergency contraception to make the process less intimidating.
The card will be rolled out across pharmacies nationwide later this month. It will feature questions for the patient with scratch off answers that will tell the patient if they need to speak to the pharmacist.
Questions will include how long ago the patient had unprotected sex or contraception failure, with four options for answers: within 24 hours, one-three days, three-five days and five days and over.
The first three options say ‘thank you’ and the five days or over answer will scratch off to reveal ‘please speak with your pharmacist’.
The card also has questions on age, whether the woman is breastfeeding, if she could be pregnant already and whether she is taking other medication.
Women embarrassed to ask for EHC
EllaOne’s consumer research found that 31% of women were embarrassed to talk to the pharmacy assistant about the morning after pill and a quarter of women would wait until there were no other customers in the pharmacy before asking for emergency contraception.
The survey, which involved 2020 heterosexual 17 to 35 year olds, also found that one in eight also travelled to a different down to purchase emergency contraception to avoid seeing anyone they knew.
The consultation card hopes to make the purchase process simple and more discrete, but still flag when a face-to-face consultation might be necessary.
Emma Marsh, brand manager for ellaOne, said: ‘We are listening to real women and their lived experienced of seeking the morning after pill and we believe this triaging tool will help alleviate the embarrassment many women feel during the purchase process.’
‘The morning after pill is still a spontaneous and hated purchase for most women – in a recent survey we conducted 46% of women has unprotected sex in the last year, but only 27% took emergency hormonal contraception. It’s critical we improve the triaging experience so that women feel more comfortable accessing emergency contraception, and don’t risk unplanned pregnancies.’
Pharmacist and managing director of consultancy company pharmacy Complete, Deborah Evans, said: ‘A third of women surveyed have said they feel embarrassed about asking for the morning after pill. I’m devastated by that.
‘Here we are in this day and age and women don’t feel they can come in and take control without feeling comfortable. That has to change.
‘It will help with pharmacies being time-efficient and responsive to the customer, as well as help women feeling less embarrassed or uncomfortable. I’m hoping it will give control back to the woman, helping her to feel empowered.
‘In addition, it will support the development of the pharmacy team and help build their confidence in dealing with this situation – without having to directly involve the pharmacist every time.’