Two states to allow pharmacists to prescribe birth control

December 8, 2015

Pharmacists in California and Oregon will soon be able to prescribe birth control.

Pharmacists in California and Oregon will soon be able to prescribe birth control.

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Oregon passed H.B. 2879, which mandates that the state Board of Pharmacy develop procedures of prescribing of hormonal contraceptive patches and oral contraceptives, this July. California’s law is expected to take effect sometime next year.

“To ensure public safety and provide a consistent level of care, a pharmacist may participate upon completion of a Board-approved training program,” the Oregon Board of Pharmacy said on its website.

While some praise the new laws, they have also garnered criticism.

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 “I feel strongly that this is what’s best for women’s health in the 21st century, and I also feel it will have repercussions for decreasing poverty because one of the key things for women in poverty is unintended pregnancy,” State Rep. Knute Buehler (R-Ore.), sponsor of the Oregon bill, told The New York Times.

The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists is one of the few groups to express opposition to these laws, arguing that hormonal contraceptives should be available solely over-the-counter, according to The New York Times.

“My basic tenet is there should be nobody between the patient and the pill,” Mark DeFrancesco, the president of the organization, told the newspaper. “I’m afraid we’re going to create a new model that becomes a barrier between that and over-the-counter. I worry that it’s going to derail the over-the-counter movement.”

In November, the Oregon Board of Pharmacy adopted temporary rules to allow pharmacies time to prepare policies and procedures, and completed the required training, for the January 1, 2016, implementation date.

“Without these rules, the legislative intent of making this operative by 1/2/16 is not possible,” the Board stated.

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