Oregon law will allow pharmacists to prescribe birth control

New Oregon law will allow pharmacists to prescribe birth control

EUGENE, Ore. - Oregon is expanding access to birth control, where pharmacists are already able to prescribe contraceptives. On Monday, new additions to that law will go into effect.

In 2015, a law gave specially-trained pharmacists the ability to prescribe birth control, which could only previously be done by a doctor. Now, in 2018, there will be even more birth control options available directly from the pharmacy.

The additions expand the types of birth control a pharmacist can prescribe to now include Nuva Ring and injectable contraceptives.

For Pharmacist Brennan Black, it is just another opportunity to add to his skill set.

"Hopefully it means more folks coming in and getting to see more people," said Black. "Having more of an interaction besides just putting pills in a bottle."

He says it's all still very new -- the law passed two years ago and it's expanded since then.

Under the original law, pharmacists could prescribe just oral contraceptives and the patch. Now in 2018, that has expanded to the Nuva Ring and injections.

Black says few pharmacists have undergone the training, and few Oregonians known about it.

"It's still kind of getting the word out there that pharmacists are providers and that we're part of that whole healthcare network that people can use to meet their healthcare needs," said Black.

Any woman can come in, but it does require a little bit of time.

"Don't plan on coming in and just walking out with a prescription," said Black. "There's blood pressure check, there's a form that you'll fill out and we like to sit down and talk with folks."

The pharmacist talks about options, side effects, risk factors and the same kinds of things that would be discussed at a doctor's office.

Black says the pharmacy office visit is usually about $40, and then he'll either prescribe a contraceptive, or refer the patient to a doctor.

"A lot of patients that have come to me find that it's helpful when they can't either get in to see their regular prescriber, or it there's not someone nearby," said Black.

Black says it's not a replacement for healthcare providers, but is just meant as a temporary fix or bridge between doctor visits.

Pharmacists will be able to prescribe for up to two years with a follow-up visit in between. Then patients are required to see a healthcare provider.

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