Lancaster-based OvaryIt LLC recently announced that it will receive a Small Business Innovation Research grant from the National Institutes of Health.
The $214,719 in funds will be used to study the use of OvaryIt’s proprietary technology platform to increase the adoption of pharmacist-prescribed contraceptive services nationwide.
OvaryIt, LLC is a woman-owned company “with a strong mission to increase access to family planning services and advance women’s health through technological innovation, direct-to-consumer contraceptive services, and scientific research,” a release said.
Women in rural areas have a more difficult time accessing contraceptive services, the release noted. Also, unintended pregnancy remains a major issue in the country, causing significant health and financial problems to mothers and their children, disproportionately affecting women of color and women of lower socio-economic status.
Mary Kucek, founder and CEO of OvaryIt, wrote in an email that 19 million women in the U.S. live in what is deemed a contraceptive desert, but 90% of the population is within 5 miles of a pharmacy. Though many states allow pharmacists to prescribe contraception, “the current paper-based process is inefficient and difficult to incorporate into daily practice for busy pharmacists. Therefore, even though many pharmacists are eligible to prescribe contraceptives, few do.”
She said the NIH grant will allow OvaryIt to research the feasibility of using its proprietary technology to create a more efficient process while increasing patient safety through built-in features and best practices. “By creating an improved solution, we aim to increase the availability of high-quality pharmacist-prescribed contraceptive services to combat the access-to-care and health equity issues that are unfortunately far too common in the U.S.”
In the release, Kucek said, “Pharmacists are well-trained, trusted health care providers and are highly capable of providing safe contraceptive services. When we built the OvaryIt platform, our primary mission was to increase safe contraceptive access for all. We strongly believe that (it) has the potential to change the contraceptive landscape and will empower more pharmacies to provide these services to promote more equitable and inclusive contraceptive access.”
Paula Wolf is a freelance writer