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Your Healthy Family: Birth control access worsened by pandemic

Posted at 7:54 AM, Jan 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-11 07:54:04-05

Women across the country are having a harder time finding contraceptives because of shortages at health centers and pharmacies. Doctors say this isn’t new to the pandemic, but it's only making the problem worse.

Doctors are calling them “contraceptive deserts” — when there aren’t enough health centers or pharmacies for women to go for pregnancy prevention. A lot of pharmacies don't have enough staff to keep up with prescriptions right now, which is leading to long wait times.

Dr. Casandra Cashman with women’s tele-medicine company Nurx said there’s been about a 50 percent increase in American patients looking for birth control through the mail because they can't get it in person.

"They try to call and check and see if their prescription is ready. They're on hold for a half an hour or more, and no one answers. They go to the pharmacy and the line is literally winding around the store. I mean, I've heard things that in 12 years of medical practice, I never thought would be possible at a CVS or Walgreens or a retail pharmacy in the United States. It's really getting kind of crazy," Dr. Cashman said.

She said insurance can also be an issue, and tele-medicine can be a low cost, time-sensitive option for patients to get the services and prescriptions they want and need.