20 states allow pharmacists to prescribe birth control

Pharmacists can now prescribe birth control in 20 states, and 10 other state legislatures are working toward expanding access to the contraception at pharmacy counters, according to the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists. 

In 2013, California was the first state to allow its pharmacists to prescribe self-administered birth control, and 19 other states have since followed. The last state to pass similar legislation was South Carolina, which was signed in May — about a month before the overturning of Roe v. Wade shook the status of reproductive health rights. 

In a survey of 500 women in New York, which does not currently authorize pharmacists to prescribe birth control, nearly 75 percent said they would be comfortable getting their contraceptive prescription from a pharmacist, according to ASHP. A majority of those surveyed said long wait times and difficulty in securing appointments with providers were main barriers to birth control access. 

The reversal of Roe v. Wade "is causing family planning clinics to close down in many areas, and birth control prescribing stands out as a perfect opportunity for pharmacists to be able to step in and take on a healthcare role," Jennifer Fiscus, PharmD candidate at Johnson City, N.Y.-based Binghamton University School of Pharmacy and lead author of the survey, said in a statement.

The 20 states and districts that allow pharmacists to prescribe birth control are Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, South Carolina, Utah, Vermont, Virginia and West Virginia, according to the National Alliance of State Pharmacy Associations

To learn more about each state's legislation, click here.

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