A new state law allows pharmacists to prescribe birth control pills to women in Oregon, who now no longer have to visit the doctor for a prescription.
From now on all they will have to do is fill out health questionnaires, and a licensed pharmacist shall give them oral contraceptives.
Dr. Jill Rabin, co-chief in the division of ambulatory care, Women’s Health Programs at Northwell Health in New Hyde Park, New York, said that women can now get their birth control pills without having to visit the doctor for their annual checkups.
That being said, it is still important for women to go to the doctor each year for preventive care, according to Dr. Rabin.
On January 1, the new Oregon law – which allows pharmacists to prescribe oral contraceptives to women ages 18 or older – went into effect. Minors still have to go to the doctor to get their prescription.
Based on the answers to the health questionnaires, pharmacists (who also have to attend training) can prescribe the best birth control pills to each patient. Insurers in Oregon also have to cover the cost of a one-year supply of birth control pills at once.
A 2011 study – published in the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology – found that the rate of unintended pregnancies and abortions was lower in women who received a 12-month supply of contraceptives, compared with women who only got a one to three-month supply.
Dr. Rabin said that, with the new law, doctors are concerned that women might skip their annual doctor’s visit. There are many health benefits that come with that visit. For example, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that women ages 21 to 65 should get a Papanicolaou test every three years. This particular test is a method of cervical screening used to detect cancerous processes or potential pre-cancerous processes in the cervix.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, women who undergo the Pap test and the human papillomavirus (HPV) test at once, only have to get tested every five years.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) stated in a 2012-report that after taking birth control pills, some women experience complications (like blood cloths). However, the risk of getting a blood clot during or right after pregnancy is a lot higher, than getting it from oral contraception, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
Oregon is currently the only state in the U.S. that has implemented the law. A similar law was also passed in California, but has not been implemented so far.
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