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California Pharmacists to Provide Birth Control to Women Effective Today

April 11, 2016

SACRAMENTO, Calif., April 8, 2016 Regulations that authorize pharmacists to directly furnish prescription contraceptives to women in California are effective today. The regulations were the result of a state legislative measure that was signed into law in 2013. That legislation, Senate Bill 493 (Hernandez), provided pharmacists the authority to perform a number of expanded duties including furnishing hormonal contraception, prescription smoking cessation services, travel medications, expanded immunizations, and created an Advanced Practice Pharmacist license.

"Today is a wonderful day for women's healthcare in California," said Jon Roth, Chief Executive Officer of the California Pharmacists Association, sponsors of SB 493. "We thank the California State Board of Pharmacy for completing the contraception regulations and are pleased that pharmacists can now provide direct access to birth control for women," stated Roth.

The regulations specify the manner in which pharmacists can furnish prescription birth control to women. Those requirements include pharmacists following a statewide protocol that outlines the clinical considerations for furnishing the prescription, pharmacist training, and reporting requirements to the patient's primary care provider. The regulations follow the Center for Disease Control & Prevention, U.S. Medical Eligibility Criteria for Contraceptive Use (USMEC), which advises healthcare providers on the risks and contraindications for different types of birth control depending on the woman's medical conditions. The USMEC can be found here.

California pharmacists are authorized to furnish oral (the pill), transdermal (the patch), vaginal (the ring), and Depo injection prescription birth control methods for women.

"California's 6,500 community pharmacies are the face of neighborhood healthcare in this state," said Roth. "Community pharmacies are open beyond normal business hours and patients do not need an appointment to see their pharmacist. That means these regulations will go a long way to expanding women's access to birth control."


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