The levonorgestrel-containing ECP, amongst other strategies, can help reduce unintended pregnancy and abortion rates. Since the ECP rescheduling to OTC status from pharmacies in Australia, there is little information about Australian women’s ECP knowledge, attitudes, or practice. The study aimed to explore Australian women’s understanding of, attitudes towards, and experiences using the ECP, mainly since it has been available OTC. This paper reports a qualitative study using six focus groups conducted between February and June 2007 in four Australian states with 29 women.
Some participants expressed concerns about younger women misusing it. Women’s experiences obtaining the ECP from the pharmacy were both positive and negative. Most women said they would use the ECP again if required and would recommend it to a friend. Pharmacists were seen as critical suppliers of the ECP, but women felt it was not their role to advise contraception or sexually transmitted infections.
The study concluded that views from other studies, suggesting that although women have some concerns concerning the OTC supply of the ECP, they believe that the ECP’s deregulation is a positive step. The data also suggest that women need to be provided with more information and education about the ECP.