Stigma Associated With Medication Abortion Provision Among Pharmacists: An Assessment of Pharmacists’ Knowledge and Practices in Uttar Pradesh, India

Joanna Percher
Malvika Saxena, Public Health Foundation India
Beth Phillips, University of California, San Francisco
Pravesh Dwivedi, Institute of Women's Studies, University of Lucknow
Aradhana Srivastava, Public Health Institute
Nadia Diamond-Smith, University of California, San Francisco

Most abortions in India occur using medication abortion (MA) outside of health facilities, primarily purchased from pharmacies. In India, males often purchase MA for their female partners. Growing evidence suggests that pharmacists have poor knowledge about MA and provide little, and often inaccurate, information to clients. The aim of this study is to explore differences in pharmacist’s interactions with clients purchasing MA based on gender and marital status using mystery clients and a survey of pharmacists. This study was conducted in 3 districts of Uttar Pradesh India, and mystery clients presenting with 4 profiles by marital status and gender. We found overall low outright bias in terms of pharmacists asking clients about age, number of children, religion, etc. However, pharmacists did provide different information to different types of clients, providing less detailed/accurate information to women, especially unmarried women. Addressing pharmacists’ potential biases is key for ensuring equitable and quality care.

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 Presented in Session 10. Fertility, Family Planning, Sexual Behavior & Reproductive Health 2