A 2013 California law (SB 493) is scheduled to take effect in the next few weeks will allow pharmacists in the state to distribute contraception without requiring a prescription from a physician, among other things, Governing reports (Kardish, Governing, 5/19).
Details of the Law
Under the law, pharmacists' scope of practice will be expanded to allow them to initiate certain kinds of prescriptions and to provide clinical advice and patient consultation (Gorn, "Capital Desk," California Healthline, 10/3/13).
Among the changes, women will be able to request contraception from a pharmacist, who could then write the prescription after following certain screening protocols. Specifically, a woman would be required to:
- Complete a brief health questionnaire;
- Consult with the pharmacist on dosage and other information before receiving the contraception; and
- Undergo a blood pressure test.
According to Governing, the California Board of Pharmacy established the protocols earlier this year. They soon will be filed officially with state regulators.
The service can be provided by any pharmacist. Further, the law does not allow insurers to refuse to cover FDA-approved contraceptives because they are prescribed by a pharmacist rather than a physician. Under the Affordable Care Act, insurers have to cover all FDA-approved contraceptives.
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