California State Law Permits Pharmacists to Dispense Birth Control

California women now have the ability to obtain birth control over the count without a doctor’s prescription according to a new law. However, because the law is brand new, local pharmacies are still trying to get caught up with the state’s requirements.

Signed in April of this year, the new law allows pharmacists to dispense oral, vaginal, transdermal contraception including Depo-Provera injections to women without a physician’s order. The pharmacists must comply with the California Board of Pharmacy's protocols that include asking the patient to complete a self-screening tool that asks about previous use of contraception, health history and tobacco use. The law also leaves it up to the pharmacists’ discretion on whether or not they notify the patient’s physician for follow-up care. The pharmacist must first review the questionnaire and take the patient's blood pressure before determining whether or not the patient needs to visit a doctor the prescription is dispensed. Pharmacists must also counsel the patient privately.

The new law seems to be a huge win for women seeking birth control who may not be under the care of a primary care physician. While many major chain and local pharmacies agree with the law, they still hold concerns in regards to proper training as well as increasing their work load in an already busy environment. Ultimately, it comes down to the pharmacies’ available resources on whether or not they choose to opt into providing the service.