Editor’s note: The following information was provided by the RI Legislative Press and Information Bureau.
STATE HOUSE — The House of Representatives has passed legislation introduced by Rep. Camille F.J. Vella-Wilkinson (D-Dist. 21, Warwick) allowing pharmacists to prescribe birth control.
The bill (2022-H 7346A) would authorize a pharmacist to prescribe and dispense hormonal contraceptives, provided that the pharmacist has completed a training program approved by the state board of pharmacy.
“Taking time off work, finding transportation to a clinic and paying for a doctor’s visit is a lot of work to get birth control,” said Representative Vella-Wilkinson. “Pharmacist-prescribed birth control would improve the quality of life for so many women, which is an important goal of our evolving health care system.”
Rhode Island would join several other states that have existing laws allowing pharmacists to prescribe birth control.
“Pharmacists are highly underutilized health care professionals,” said Representative Valla-Wilkinson. “Laws that keep developing and whose policies are incorporated into practice will allow the profession to expand and better serve patients. Prescribing birth control is a major step in pharmacists’ ability to take some of the workload off physicians, use their knowledge to the fullest, and enhance the patient’s health care experience.”
Pharmacists would be required to complete a training program approved by the state Board of Pharmacy that is related to prescribing hormonal contraceptives. The program would include training on counseling on all methods of FDA-approved contraceptives, including those the pharmacist is not able to prescribe. The pharmacist would also be required to provide a self-screening risk assessment tool that the patient must use prior to the pharmacist’s prescribing the birth control.
“Some states have found a decrease in abortion rates following enactment of this law,” said Representative Vella-Wilkinson. “According to a report from the Centers for Disease Control, research shows that access to effective birth control leads to lower abortion rates, likely by helping to prevent unintended pregnancies.”
The measure now moves to the Senate, where similar legislation (2022-S 2330) has been introduced by Sen. Kendra Anderson (D-Dist. 31, Warwick, Cranston).
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