D.C. Council considers birth control without a doctor’s visit

D.C. Council Member David Catania has introduced a bill to allow pharmacists to dispense hormonal birth control without a physician’s prescription. The D.C. Board of Medicine and the D.C. Board of pharmacy would write the regulations outlining procedures for pharmacists.

Catania told the Washington Post that his goal is to increase access for lower income women, “At this point, in this city, it’s already a challenge for many women in underserved communities to get the appointments and then find a pharmacy. I think it’s a way to expand access to contraception and to conserve valuable resources.”

Some question the need for greater access, citing Planned Parenthood and other organizations that dispense contraceptives. It is also unclear whether this will violate FDA regulations, an FDA spokeswoman has called it a “gray area.” Pharmacists say they are definitely qualified to dispense the drug, but don’t think it will be practical for them to find time for consultations.

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