Update: since the time this was posted, both Maryland’s and Hawaii’s bills have passed.
Already, California and Oregon pharmacists are able to prescribe* contraceptives. Both of these states also have opportunities for the assessment the pharmacist performs to be compensated as well. Now, the concept is moving to other states.
In 2016, Colorado passed a law allowing the boards of pharmacy, medicine, and nursing to work together to issue statewide protocols for pharmacists. Earlier this year, two protocols were released – one for hormonal contraceptives and another for smoking cessation.
New Mexico has had statewide protocols for pharmacists for some time – per the 2001 legislation that allowed for pharmacist prescribing. Their statewide protocols include smoking cessation, immunizations, naloxone, TB testing, and now, hormonal contraceptives. Like Colorado, New Mexico laws allow for statewide protocols to be issued through a regulatory process – in this case a collaborative one between the boards of pharmacy, nursing, and medicine. The regulations authorizing the hormonal contraceptive statewide protocol will go into effect in late May.
Maryland pharmacists have been hard at work this session advocating for HB 613 which calls for regulations to be developed for pharmacists to prescribe and dispense “certain contraceptives.” The bill has made it through both chambers of the legislature and is currently awaiting the governor’s signature.
The Hawaii House and Senate committees have both recommended the passage of SB 513. If passed, SB 513 will give pharmacists the authority to prescribe and dispense self-administered hormonal contraceptives.
In a state where physicians are in short supply, Hawaii lawmakers believe this bill puts the needs of patients first.
Though Maryland’s and Hawaii’s are furthest through the legislative process, other states are considering legislation that would make hormonal contraceptives available from pharmacists:
More Information on Statewide Protocols
For more information on statewide protocols, be sure to check out the report recently released by NASPA and the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, Pharmacist Statewide Protocols: Key Elements for Legislative and Regulatory Authority.
*Note that California law uses the term furnish instead of prescribe – regardless of the term, patients have increased access to the medication they need through pharmacists.
**New Hampshire’s bill has passed though the bill actually creates a study to examine the idea of allowing pharmacists to prescribe contraceptives so the passage of the bill is not the last step in the process.