National Partnership for Women & Families

In the News

Mo. bill would allow pharmacists to prescribe birth control

Missouri Rep. Sheila Solon (R) proposed a bill (HB 1679) that would allow pharmacists to prescribe oral contraceptives, the AP/Charlotte Observer reports.

According to Mara Gandal-Powers, an attorney with the National Women's Law Center, lawmakers in California, Oregon and Washington, D.C. have approved similar legislation, and at least four additional states are considering similar measures.

Bill details

Under the bill, pharmacists could prescribe a three-month prescription for oral contraceptives on a woman's first visit. Thereafter, the woman could receive oral contraceptives in one-year batches. Women would have to see a physician within three years of receiving the initial prescription to remain eligible for pharmacist-prescribed contraception. Women under age 18 would have to present a previous prescription from a physician to have contraception prescribed by a pharmacist.

The bill would apply only to oral contraception. Pharmacists would not be able to prescribe contraceptive patches.

According to Solon, the legislation's sponsor, her measure would not alter state law that permits pharmacists to refuse to fill prescriptions if they have objections to them. Pharmacists would also be able to refer patients to physicians as needed.

The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the Teen Pregnancy and Prevention Partnership and Planned Parenthood Action have expressed support for the measure (Aton, AP/Charlotte Observer, 2/3).