This week, Oregon passed a new law that allows women to buy hormonal contraceptives from a pharmacy without a doctor’s prescription. After the law goes into effect in 2016, women in Oregon will be able to get birth control pills without having to first visit a doctor for permission.
Oregon is the second state in the nation to approve this type of access for women; California passed a similar law in 2013. According to OregonLive, the law was first proposed by Rep. Knute Buehler, a Republican physician.
These drugs won’t be on the shelf with the ibuprofen and vitamin pills. Pharmacists will be allowed to dispense them to any woman over the age of 18, as long as they go over a questionnaire to make sure they don’t suffer from health problems that prevent the safe use of hormonal contraception. Pharmacists cannot continue to provide refills if a woman doesn’t go to a women’s health appointment with her doctor within three years. The idea is just to make sure women are getting health care while using the contraceptives.
Patients who are under 18 will not be able to buy hormonal contraceptives over the counter unless they have proof that they already have a prescription. That provision will expire in 2020, however, as long as the expanded access has been shown to be safe for women of all ages.
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