Utah women can purchase birth control pills without a prescription

Women in Utah will now be able to purchase birth control pills without a prescription or visiting a doctor.

Under the state’s newest standing order, pharmacists in Utah may now legally dispense selected contraceptive medications to any woman who is age 18 or older, effective immediately.

“In Utah, one in five births are from an unplanned pregnancy,” according Dr. John Miner, a physician and executive director at the Utah Department of Health. “Unplanned pregnancies may result from lack of contraceptive use or using contraception inconsistently or incorrectly,” he said.

“The purpose of this order is to help women avoid unplanned pregnancies and remove some of the barriers many women encounter when trying to access family planning services,” said Dr. Miner.

The standing order was authorized by Senate Bill 184, and passed by the State Legislature during the 2018 session.

Pharmacists and pharmacist interns who want to dispense birth control prescriptions are required to enroll with the Utah Department of Health and complete a training by the Pharmacy Licensing Board/Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing. Pharmacists will be required to re-enroll every two years.

“My hope is that pharmacists throughout the state will take the time to educate themselves about the new program and participate in dispensing contraceptives to women who wish to receive them,” said Dr. Miner.

Women will be able to receive birth control pills, contraceptive patches, or vaginal rings from participating pharmacists after they complete a health history form, have their blood pressure taken, and talk with the pharmacist about which contraceptive method will work best for them.

According to the order, patients will still be responsible for covering the cost of their medications and the consultation with the pharmacist, either by utilizing insurance coverage or by paying out of their pocket. Women will be required to provide proof of a visit with their women’s health care provider every two years.

This is the second standing order to be approved by Utah lawmakers. SB 184 joins a standing order issued by the health department in 2016 for naloxone, a rescue medication that can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. Thousands of doses of naloxone have been dispensed throughout Utah since.

For more information, visit mihp.utah.gov/birthcontrol.

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