The "ACT-Pharm" Study: Is Contraception Task-sharing Acceptable and Feasible...

...among Rural Pharmacists in British-Columbia?


Wendy V. Norman; Michael Wong; Judith A. Soon; Peter J. Zed
Department of Family Practice, University of British Columbia (UBC); Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, UBC


  • Access to prescription contraceptives in rural areas is often limited by the hours and location of physician or youth clinic services.
  • Pharmacists are trustred, accessible health care providers in rural communities throughout BC.
  • Pharmacist hours, locations, privacy/lack of stigma, and access to a wide range of hormonal contraceptives (HC) stock place them ideally to independently provide HC to women living in the rural areas.


To explore the acceptability and feasibility for independent provision of contraception by pharmacists in rural BC.


  • Mixed-methods
  • Rogers Theory of Diffusion of Innovations (Dofi) was used as the framework
  • 26-item questionnaire: developed (Dofi), reviewed by experts, refined by focus groups, then pilot tested by pharmacists.
  • Surveys mailed to all 333 rural BC pharmacies, reminder at 1 month.
  • Participants invited to a structured telephone interview.


Surveys returned by 127 (38%) of rural pharmacies, with responding pharmacists reporting a mean of 17 years in practce, half male, 70% managers or owner-pharmacists.

(See .pdf for table - Descriptive Findings)

Results of logistic regression modeling for variables significantly associated with the probability of being willing to prescribe hormonal contraception.

(See .pdf for table - Variables associated with Willingness to prescribe)


  • Pharmacists in rural BC report a high degree of acceptability and feasibility for independent prescription of hormonal contraceptives.
  • As pharmacists are often the most accessible health professionals in rural areas, pharmacist provision of hormonal contraceptives carries the potential to improve timely access to contraception.

Quote from an interview participant: "I would definitely prescribe. I mean, I don't really know at this point how the patients would react to it. But if they are willing to, and if I feel comfortable enough - and with continuing education that we get, I would definitely prescribe."

View full poster (.pdf)


  • Child and Youth Mental Health and Addictions Framework
  • HealthForceOntario: Practice Ontario
  • Northern Ontario Dietetic Internship Program

Health Canadacihr logo1This initiative has been generously funded by grants from Health Canada and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of the funders.