Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Pharmacy Staff Lacking in Plan B Basics

Since the FDA approved Plan B® for over-the-counter distribution in 2006, women in Maryland have been able to access this crucial medication without a written prescription. However, it seems that some local pharmacy staff could greatly benefit from a Plan B® tutorial. Some people have complained about the lack of accurate information being provided by various Maryland pharmacy staff when attempting to purchase Plan B. Samantha Lewis, a former NPCM intern, reported that she was given conflicting information as to when Plan B® is effective by two different pharmacies. One staff member told her the medication only worked the morning after sex, while a different pharmacy informed her that the medication could work up to 3 days after sex. Isn’t it the job of pharmacists’ to know the in-depth details of how medications work? Don’t we count on them to know how drugs interact and if a certain pill should be taken with food or on an empty stomach? As a result, all pharmacy staff should be prepared to FAQs about Plan B®.

There are several reasons why it is particularly critical for pharmacy staff to know the facts about Plan B®. First, Plan B® is a time sensitive medication. This means that there is a limited amount of time for the pills to be taken and still be effective. It’s really not that complicated: Plan B works better the sooner it is taken, works bests within 72hrs, but could still be effective if taken within 120 hours (5 Days) after sex. Secondly, while many people may have heard of the morning-after pill, most haven’t been educated on the details. So while a young woman may heard about a pill you can take after sex to help prevent you from becoming pregnant, she turns to pharmacy staff to tell her exactly how the medication works and when it should be taken. Finally, anti-choice groups work diligently to spread misinformation to cause confusion about Plan B. Consumers look to pharmacists to provide them with factual, unbiased information. As sources of authority, it’s unacceptable for some pharmacy staff members to not know the basic facts about Plan B®.

Do you have a story about purchasing Plan B in Maryland? Good or bad, we would love to hear about it!

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