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Lawmakers propose allowing pharmacists to prescribe birth control in Pennsylvania

WEST VIEW, Pa. — New proposed legislation would allow pharmacists in the state to prescribe contraceptives like the pill or patch.

“Pharmacies in the state of Pennsylvania on average are closing every 36 hours since January 1st, 2024,” said Blueberry Pharmacy owner Kyle McCormick.

McCormick spoke with Channel 11 about the new legislation.

“As you are seeing pharmacies being overburdened, if I can’t even reach a pharmacy to get a prescription filled, one of the core competencies of a pharmacy how can I expect to get birth control when I get it too,” McCormick said.

Lawmakers said it’s about choice and joining other neighboring states like Maryland and West Virginia to provide more access and protection when it comes to reproductive health.

“It will require you to consult with a primary care physician at least two years before to make sure it’s safe, a questionnaire you fill out with the pharmacist. There will be a training and accreditation for the pharmacist to make sure they have the necessary skill sets,” said Rep. Joshua Siegel.

But not all pharmacists think it’s a benefit. McCormick said it’s extra liability and while he feels he’s capable, it’s not his lane of expertise.

“I did a doctorate in pharmacy. I know a lot about drugs, I know a lot about diseases, but I also respect checks and balances. One of the things I respect about the health system is that we have checks and balances. The doc prescribes and the pharmacist determines if they are safe and effective for patients,” McCormick said.

Siegel told Channel 11 that if the bill passes, pharmacies won’t have to opt in or even participate, but he wants them to have the choice.

“At the end of the day, this is about unintended pregnancies and about making sure that everyone can start their families when and how if at all and this is about maintaining the independent decision-making over complete autonomy over their reproductive rights,” Siegel said.

The draft of the legislation is still being worked out but should be formally introduced mid-summer.

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