March 13, 2009
"Supported by the American Medical Association, patient delivered partner therapy (PDPT) is becoming legal in many states. For some individuals exposed to sexually transmitted infections [STIs], the pharmacist may become the sole point of contact with the medical system," the researchers explained. The current study examined pharmacists' perceptions about PDPT, education on STIs, and potential barriers to successful implementation of PDPT.
A survey of pharmacists was conducted, and privacy-related spaces in pharmacies were observed. In eight counties of the Capital Region of New York state, all community pharmacies were invited to participate. In eight additional counties, convenience sampling was utilized. The overall response proportion was 67.3 percent.
Of 193 pharmacists who responded, 63 percent supported PDPT for chlamydia and 78 percent said they did not want a behind-the-counter status for antibiotics used to treat the infection. The majority (88 percent) desired that prescriptions be marked as PDPT so as to alert them to counseling needs. About half the pharmacists said they would automatically submit PDPT prescriptions to insurance companies -- a confidentiality issue. Patient counseling time was the most frequently cited barrier (49 percent).
"Pharmacists are open to considering PDPT as part of their professional functions," the researchers found. "Although pharmacists need additional [STI] education in general, capacity for this training can be developed. Confidentiality issues remain a priority issue to address to protect individuals treated through PDPT."