Catania moves to make birth control pills available without prescription

Photo courtesy of
‘ritual’
courtesy of ‘M.Markus’

Council Member David Catania (I-At Large) introduced a bill yesterday to allow pharmacists to dispense oral contraceptives to patients without a prescription from a doctor. The bill is intended to increase access to contraception among patient populations who may not be able to afford the office visit to have a doctor prescribe it.

Specifically, the bill would authorize the DC Boards of Pharmacy and Medicine (the bodies which issue licenses to pharmacists and doctors, respectively) to come up with some rules to govern the process by which pharmacists could dispense hormonal birth control without a prescription.

According to the Post, the program under consideration might involve collaboration with doctors similar to the District’s pharmacist-administered-vaccines program.

Under that program, pharmacists must first obtain an additional certification beyond their pharmacy license from the DC Board of Pharmacy to administer immunizations. Then they must work with doctors to actually provide vaccines to patients, but there are two tiers of this collaboration. For most vaccinations (like your basic school immunizations, or travel vaccines), the specific pharmacist (not the pharmacy) must have permission from specific doctors to administer specific vaccines to their particular patients, either by prescription or by standing order. But for influenza and pneumococcal vaccines, pharmacists can get permission from one DC-licensed physician to administer those to all the pharmacist’s patients, 18 or 0ver.

So it’s not clear yet which way the Boards would choose to go in setting the rules for how hormonal contraception would be administered, or if they would choose, for example, to choose the more doctor-restricted approach for things like the patch and the ring, while going with a looser set of rules for the pill.

Disclosure: I am employed by a professional association for pharmacists. This article is entirely my own work and opinion and should not be construed as the opinion of, or an endorsement by, my employer.

Tiffany Baxendell Bridge is an Internet enthusiast and an incurable smartass. When not heckling the neighborhood political scene on Twitter, she can be found goofing off with her ukulele, Bollywood dancing, or obsessing about cult TV. She is That Woman With the Baby In the Bar.

Tiffany lives in Brookland with her husband Tom, son Charlie, and two high-maintenance cats. Read why Tiffany loves DC.

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2 thoughts on “Catania moves to make birth control pills available without prescription

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention CM Catania wants to make birth control pills available directly from a pharmacist, much like immunizations. -- Topsy.com

  2. The pill can have significant side effects, and can interact with many other kinds of medicine. This plan concerns me.