The General Assembly passed and Gov. Dan McKee has signed legislation introduced by Rep. Camille F.J. Vella-Wilkinson (D-Dist. 21, Warwick) and Sen. Meghan E. Kallman (D-Dist. 15, Pawtucket, …
The General Assembly passed and Gov. Dan McKee has signed legislation introduced by Rep. Camille F.J. Vella-Wilkinson (D-Dist. 21, Warwick) and Sen. Meghan E. Kallman (D-Dist. 15, Pawtucket, Providence) that allows pharmacists to prescribe birth control.
The law authorizes pharmacists 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 — provided you can get access to a primary care physician in the first place,” said 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.”
Vella-Wilkinson credits Rep. Michelle E. McGaw (D-Dist. 71, Portsmouth, Tiverton, Little Compton), a consultant pharmacist, with providing critical assistance in the crafting of the legislation.
“One of our most fundamental rights is the right to choose if and when to have children. We have made tremendous progress in recent years reducing unplanned pregnancies and increased access to contraception has been a huge part of that,” said Senator Kallman. “But those changes won’t mean much unless people can actually access healthcare. This bill will help expand access so all Rhode Islanders can get the care they need, especially in an era when we are experiencing such a shortage of primary care physicians. I’m proud we were able to get it done.”
Rhode Island joins several other states that have existing laws allowing pharmacists to prescribe birth control. Under the new law, the pharmacist will 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.