New Indiana laws expand access to birth control
Pharmacists in Indiana can prescribe birth control under state legislation now in effect.
The measure, HB 1568, aims to provide greater access to hormonal contraceptives, particularly in the one in four Indiana counties that are considered "maternity care deserts." That means there are no hospitals or birth centers offering obstetric care and no obstetric providers.
Physicians such as Dr. Tracey Wilkinson told lawmakers that allowing pharmacists to prescription birth control will reduce health care costs associated with unintended pregnancies and improves overall health.
“An analysis done to examine the effects of pharmacy access in Indiana has shown that if just 10 percent of birth control prescriptions came from pharmacists, we would prevent 86 unintended pregnancies each year,” Wilkinson said.
There are limits to the new law. First, it’s an option for pharmacists – they don’t have to prescribe if they don’t want to.
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The prescriptions can only be for up to six months. And after a year of getting prescriptions from a pharmacist, a patient must see a doctor, advanced practice nurse or physician assistant.
Lawmakers also approved a bill, SB 252, that allows providers to transfer long-acting, reversible contraceptive devices such as birth control implants from one Medicaid patient to another, if the devices were unused.
Previously, if such a device was ordered for a Medicaid patient and was not used, it had to be discarded. Proponents of the measure say it will help make the devices more accessible.