Pharmacists Prescribing Birth Control
In response to in-person medical care restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic, pharmacists became a more prevalent resource for people across the country. For residents living in areas with limited access to health clinics, hospitals, and primary care physicians, they continue to act as a vital link for accessing medications and health information.
As part of this trend, more and more states now allow pharmacists to prescribe hormonal birth control (pills, ring, shot, patch, etc.). This means people can access birth control pills without having to schedule an appointment with a physician or experiencing long wait and travel times.
Current Access Laws for Pharmacists Prescribing Hormonal Birth Control
Over 19 million women in the United States live in “contraceptive deserts” (areas with inadequate access to birth control), which also disproportionately affect women of color. In 2016, states began passing and implementing pharmacy access policies for self-administered hormonal contraception. The laws vary from state to state as some outline specific eligible methods and age restrictions.
To find out whether you can get a birth control prescription from your pharmacist, check out the Guttmacher Institute’s list of states with pharmacist-prescribed contraceptive access laws. States with these types of laws authorize pharmacists to prescribe contraceptives, which research has proven is both safe and effective.
Resources for Pharmacists Who Want to Prescribe Birth Control
Are you a pharmacist taking on more healthcare-related responsibilities for residents in your community? If so, there are resources available that can help you successfully navigate this changing environment. You can be an important part of helping patients access safe, effective self-administered hormonal birth control.
Depending on the state you live and practice in, you may be required to obtain contraceptive care training before prescribing birth control. For example, you may need to provide the patients you see with educational materials, counseling, and even self-screening risk assessment tools to determine eligibility.