Birth control

Pharmacists will soon be able to prescribe birth control in 2 states

Beverly Schaefer, a co-owner of Katterman’s Sand Point Pharmacy, who has a physician’s permission to prescribe various medications, in Seattle, Sept. 15, 2015. Starting sometime in the next few months, California and Oregon will allow women to get a contraceptive prescription directly from a pharmacist, a move that advocates hope becomes a national model. (Ruth Fremson/The New York Times)

Women in Oregon and California will be able to get a prescription for birth control from their pharmacists without ever having to visit a doctor after two new state laws take effect in the coming months. Lawmakers in both states pushed to increase women’s access to birth control as part of a broader policy toward reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies, which total some 3 million nationwide per year, according to The New York Times. Pharmacists, who will be able to write scripts for patients who fill out a medical questionnaire, say they will lobby for similar laws in other states around the country. Many states already have laws that allow pharmacists to practice some medicine — administering vaccines, for example — with the consent of doctors. Insurance will still cover the costs of the medicine, though it may not cover the fees charged by pharmacists for the visits. Public health advocates told the Times that eventually they hope to see birth control available without a prescription, though that could complicate things for women who need insurance to cover the cost of the pills, which may not be covered if sold over-the-counter.

“My basic tenet is there should be nobody between the patient and the pill,” Dr. Mark DeFrancesco, the president of the American Congress of Obstetricians, said. “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.”

Read the full story at the The New York Times.

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