New triaging tool aims to make EHC purchases “less intimidating”

A new triaging tool launching in October aims to simplify the emergency contraception purchase process and make it “less intimidating” for women.

The tool has been developed by HRA Pharma, which makes morning after pill ellaOne. It consists of a card to be placed on the pharmacy counter with a brief checklist of six questions.

Women who think they may need emergency hormonal contraception will be able to tear a card off and return it to a member of the pharmacy team.

Teams will then use this information to determine whether the customer is suitable for emergency hormonal contraception (EHC) or whether a more in-depth discussion with a pharmacist is required.

The tool was inspired by a HRA survey that found that 72 per cent of women between 18 and 35 would prefer to complete a short questionnaire than have to do a face-to-face consultation.

Consumer research conducted by HRA has also found that a third of women feel too embarrassed to talk to their pharmacist about the morning after pill, and one in eight would travel to a different town to purchase EHC in order to avoid bumping into someone they know.

ellaOne brand manager Emma Marsh said: “The morning after pill is still a spontaneous and hated purchase for most women – in a recent survey we conducted 46 per cent of women had unprotected sex in the last year, but only 27 per cent took EHC. It’s critical we improve the triaging experience so that women feel more comfortable accessing emergency contraception and don’t risk unplanned pregnancies.”

Ms Marsh said that by giving women “information at the point of purchase, and by providing the pharmacy team with important information about the customer almost immediately,” the process of obtaining EHC “can be simplified and made less intimidating for women”.

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