Pharma

New York allows pharmacists to dispense hormonal contraception without a prescription

The move is intended to expand reproductive health access for New York residents.
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Pharmacists in New York can now dispense hormonal contraception without a prescription, thanks to a standing order Governor Kathy Hochul signed Tuesday.

The order is the latest in a series of moves the governor has made to expand reproductive access following the overturning of Roe v. Wade—including purchasing a five-year supply of the abortion pill misoprostol. The improved dispensing access is intended to make it easier for New York residents to get safe contraception without a primary care provider, according to the governor’s office.

“At a time when reproductive rights are under attack, New York state will continue to fight for every individual’s right to access the healthcare they need,” Hochul said in a statement. “Starting a family is a deeply personal decision, and New York state will always be a place where people can access safe and effective contraceptives.”

New York joins a growing number of states that have expanded a pharmacist’s ability to both prescribe and dispense hormonal contraception. At least 28 states and Washington, DC, allow pharmacists to provide contraceptive care, according to reproductive health research and policy organization Guttmacher Institute.

Under Hochul’s order, pharmacists can dispense up to 12 months’ worth of three types of self-administered hormonal contraceptives: an oral hormonal pill, a hormonal vaginal ring, or a hormonal contraceptive patch.

“In partnership with the state education department, we will work with our licensed pharmacist professionals over the next several weeks so they’re ready to provide these important contraception medications,” New York Health Commissioner James McDonald said in the statement.

Before a pharmacist can dispense the contraceptives, they’re required to give patients a self-screening intake form to ensure the medication is appropriate. Then, the pharmacist must provide the patient with medication counseling, including education on potential risks associated with the contraception.

“A patient’s pharmacy is often more available and convenient than a physician’s office or reproductive healthcare office, especially when time is of the essence,” Leigh McConchie, president of the Pharmacists Society of the State of New York, said in the statement. “Today’s emergency standing order further empowers pharmacists to play a vital role in the overall patient healthcare team.”

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Healthcare Brew covers pharmaceutical developments, health startups, the latest tech, and how it impacts hospitals and providers to keep administrators and providers informed.