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Committee advances bill allowing pharmacists to dispense birth control pills without a prescription

Committee advances bill allowing pharmacists to dispense birth control pills without a prescription

Pharmacists could dispense birth control pills without a prescription under a bill passed by a House committee Tuesday.

Under the proposal, pharmacists would be able to dispense a 12-month supply after consulting with a patient and having them complete a self-assessment, which would identify risk factors that need additional screening from other providers.

“We are seeing an increase in women being able to purchase hormonal contraception off the internet,” Rep. Michelle Mussman, D-Schaumburg, told members of the Health Care Licenses committee. “For anyone concerned about the safety of this, we are offering an enhanced and more personal consultation with an actual medical professional.”

Maura Quinlan, legislative chair for the Illinois section of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, said the bill would increase access to safe and reliable contraception.

The bill authorizes pharmacists to dispense hormonal contraceptives under a standing order from the Illinois Department of Public Health. Women would not have to first see a doctor.

“Hormonal contraception has been available truly over the counter, next to cough drops, in other countries for years, including most of Europe and Asia,” Quinlan said. “These countries have a far lower rate of unintended pregnancy than we do here.”

But Rep. Barbara Wheeler, R-Crystal Lake, raised concerns about the age of patients who could receive the contraception. She said that if the bill was approved, her 12-year-old would have access to birth control while her 17-year-old couldn’t buy Sudafed.

“That seems insane,” she said. “I’m never going to support this.”

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