BACKGROUND: Many barriers, including stocking behaviors and pharmacist attitudes, can limit access to buprenorphine in pharmacy settings.
OBJECTIVES: To assess North Carolina (NC) pharmacists' (1) buprenorphine stocking behaviors, (2) awareness and interpretation of federal and state policy regarding buprenorphine, (3) perceptions about changes in buprenorphine demand, and (4) reasons for not dispensing buprenorphine, including attitudes.
METHODS: A convenience sample of currently practicing community pharmacists was recruited to participate in a 10-minute online survey. The survey included demographic questions and assessed pharmacists' buprenorphine ordering, stocking, and dispensing behaviors. Descriptive statistics were calculated, and logistic regressions examined associations with whether pharmacists (1) had ever refused to fill a buprenorphine prescription and (2) perceived buprenorphine dispensing limits.
RESULTS: The majority (96%) of respondents (n = 646, completion rate = 5.5%) kept buprenorphine in stock regularly or ordered it as needed, with generic formulations being stocked most often. Many pharmacists (62%) had refused to fill a buprenorphine prescription. Pharmacists with more negative buprenorphine attitudes were more likely to refuse to fill a buprenorphine prescription. Many pharmacists (31%) believed there were buprenorphine ordering limits, with wholesalers most commonly being perceived as the source. Pharmacists with more negative buprenorphine attitudes were more likely to perceive buprenorphine ordering limits, while pharmacists who worked at national chain, grocery or regional chains, and other pharmacy types were less likely to perceive ordering limits than independent pharmacies.
CONCLUSION: Although most pharmacies stocked buprenorphine products, pharmacists' refusal to dispense and perceived ordering limits could limit patient access. Refusal and perceived ordering limits were associated with pharmacist attitudes and pharmacy type. Training that addresses logistical and attitudinal barriers to dispensing buprenorphine may equip pharmacists to address buprenorphine access barriers.