UK’s Apothecary Pharmacy raises questions about on-campus access to contraceptives


Travis Fannon

The UK Apothecary is located on the ground floor of the Gatton Student Center in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Travis Fannon | Kentucky Kernel

Elysee Sadia, Reporter

UK’s new Apothecary Pharmacy serves UK students, staff and affiliates, providing vaccines, prescriptions and over the counter products. The pharmacy, located on the ground floor of the University of Kentucky Gatton Student Center, opened Oct. 3. However, the presence of a full retail pharmacy on campus has raised questions about access to contraceptives.

Daniel Moore, the pharmacist-in-charge, said the pharmacy is meant to be accessible to all students.

“It’s open to everybody. We cater to students, and that’s our main market, but it is open to anyone and everyone,” he said. “Having that extra pharmacy, just more on campus, is more convenient for a lot of the students. UK has a pretty good footprint around the area; they just didn’t have any stores more directly on campus.”

Jamie Meadows, a senior certified pharmacy technician, works at the new location and described her experience as rewarding. Meadows has been involved in other University Healthcare positions, and she believes that the client-based approach is exceptional.

“The students, the campus employees, I think that everybody has been very understanding and very open to having a pharmacy in the area for the first time, or a more accessible one. So, it’s been really good,” she said.

As the seventh UK Retail Pharmacy location, functioning exclusively to serve the student body, many questions have surfaced primarily to investigate the marketing of contraception such as Plan B, the morning-after pill, and the distribution of Amphetamine (Adderall).

“We currently offer it (Plan B) now, over-the-counter,” Moore said. “I believe the price is $8.25 per pill. We also have a protocol where we could put it on a patient’s insurance if they wanted. We could write a prescription for it, but there are some questions and insurance information we have to get.”

Plan B and other contraceptives present an ethical dilemma following the abortion ban. Activists continue to fight for access to these over-the-counter medications as many continue to debate injustice attacks on “personhood rights” and autonomy.

“I think (contraceptives are) an important part of medical healthcare, and they should be available,” Farr said.

The constitution on abortion was rejected by the state of Kentucky and deemed illegal as of Aug. 1. Abortion-rights supporters claimed their victory in the previous midterm election, setting back restoration effort for the Pro-Choice movement campaign.

Challenges by Kentucky’s two standing abortion clinics against a near-total ban is being directed to the Kentucky Supreme Court. Legislature enacted the trigger law as a response to the Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade.

Republican Attorney General Daniel Cameron released a request to put Kentucky’s trigger law into effect, officially criminalizing abortions. The request was temporarily granted by the Kentucky Court of Appeals, which resulted in a near-total abortion ban.

“With Kentucky being a very conservative state, preventing a pregnancy is extremely important. We also sell other avenues like condoms and other contraception measures, so it’s not just Plan B,” Moore said. “Plan B is a part of what we do, it’s not the whole story.”

The Pharmacy is also attracting new customers by sharing other services. The foot traffic is accelerating as locals transfer prescriptions. Flu, COVID-19 and Strep testing are also being administered to anyone showing symptoms of these viruses.

The university community has provided positive feedback about the pharmacy. Rachel Farr, a patient at the UK Apothecary Pharmacy, said she is pleased with the convenience.

“I think it’s fine, it’s been helpful,” she said.

The on-campus experience has also been positive for UK student Noble Eleazu.

“I think it’s nice to be able to get my medicine on the go,” Eleazu said. “I have already used it a couple times and I like that it’s closer, rather than going to CVS or walking to Target.”