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    Should pharmacists be allowed to prescribe oral contraceptives?


    At least one Oregon state legislator believes allowing pharmacists to prescribe oral contraceptives would increase access to birth control and reduce unwanted pregnancies.

    Rep. Knute Buehler (R-Bend) has proposed authorizing pharmacists in Oregon to prescribe oral contraceptives for preventive purposes and not just for emergencies. Buehler, an orthopedic surgeon, believes that it does not make sense that pharmacists can prescribe emergency contraceptives but not preventive.

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    "It just seemed unreasonable that they can't dispense preventive contraception," Buehler told the Oregonian. "There's an inconsistency there."

    Buehler’s proposal is an amendment to a separate bill that would authorize Oregon pharmacists to provide patient-care services and to engage in clinical pharmacy. It is unclear whether that legislation will be considered this year.

    His proposal would authorize Oregon pharmacists to prescribe oral contraceptives to patients 18 and older. Pharmacists would be required to distribute a self-screening risk assessment tool before writing a prescription.

    Mark Lowery, Editor
    Mark Lowery an Editor for Drug Topics magazine.


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    • RLytle
      I have mixed feelings... Would we be reimbursed? What is the personal liability involved and how much would it cost to be covered? Would the chain I work for just cram it into the daily responsibilities as another revenue source for them like they do with MTM and immunizations while there is no incentive for me to take on the added liability and work (I mean stress). Do I require them to submit a pregnancy test before starting and at certain intervals? I think a good electronic health record system would be key for maintaining the records and aid in the screening process - though the screening form better be very thorough! If I prescribe like a doctor, do I have to provide on-call service/contacts for emergencies possibly related to the prescription? Do I feel confident that I can make good product selection when they experience spotting, cycle irregularities, acne, nausea, etc? With some additional training, yes. Should I worry that women could lie easily on a questionairre for birth control to get it for things like cycle regulation, excessive bleeding, headaches or acne?
      Once we start stepping on Physicians territory...it opens up the flood gates for them to start dispensing. There already trying it here in Texas.
    • PaulChurchman
      Are pharmacists going to follow the patient and order lab values or bill medical insurance for follow up visits too? Pharmacists have taken(or been forced by their employers to assume)to many responsibilities that are better left to licensed medical doctors. Of course responsibilities like dispensing birth control are liabilities to the dispensing pharmacist. What if the patient has complications? I hope Oregon doesn't pass a law that adds another layer of potential lawsuits onto the back of pharmacists.
    • BobKatz
      Paul you are correct. Any OBGYN problem a women has should be between her and her physician. Soon we will be asked to Pap Smears ans Prostate exams. Where do these dumb people come from?
    • JosephBettman
      I am recently retired after 56 years as a community pharmacy owner...to establish some sense of understanding the pharmacy scene.These people advocating better use of the over supply of pharmacists;suggesting ability to prescribe BC pills,ignoring the schools probably not properly disclosing job prospects and loan burdens after graduation(I wonder whose job security is the priority).Is anyone paying for these services,paying for legal fees after a woman smokes while on the Pill and strokes out,finding insurance coverage for professional liabilities?I have discouraged young people of entering this career path that offers so much school and expense for so little job security,satisfaction,or compensation.If I am of base,fire away.Joseph Bettman