Number of the Day

19%: The percentage of 17-year-olds in an undercover study who were told by pharmacists that they were too young to purchase emergency contraception. That is not accurate. Strangely, many of the same pharmacies were able to provide accurate information to physicians. Huh!
For the new study, researchers posing as either a 17-year-old girl or a doctor seeking help for a 17-year-old girl called every pharmacy in each of five U.S. cities asking about the availability and accessibility of emergency contraception.

All callers asked questions from a script. The first question was whether the pharmacy had the medication in stock -- 80 percent of the 943 pharmacies said they did. Next, the researcher posing as a teen asked if she could get the drug, while the researcher posing as the doctor of a 17-year-old patient asked if the patient could get the medication.

There was a huge disparity between the answers given to the teens and those offered to the physicians, with 19 percent of the 17-year-olds being told that they couldn't get it under any circumstances, compared with only 3 percent of the physicians.

The next question was asked only by teen callers who had been told a 17-year-old could get the morning-after pill: "My friends said there is an age rule [regarding access without a prescription] -- do you know what it is?"

Pharmacy employees answered that incorrectly 43 percent of the time.
Dr. Tracey Wilkinson, the study's lead author and a general pediatrics fellow at Boston Medical Center/Boston University School of Medicine says she was shocked and disappointed by the results.

Well. That's polite.

[H/Ts to Shakers Brunocerous and The Great Indoors.]

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