Wasatch And Summit County Pharmacies Prepare For New Contraception Order
The Utah Department of Health issued a standing order last month which allows women to access hormonal contraceptives without a prescription. They state in the press release that one in five Utah pregnancies are unwanted.
The bill passed in the 2018 legislative session and Summit and Wasatch County pharmacies now have the option to participate in the program.
Pharmacies can enroll in the program by participating in a two-hour, on line training with the Utah Department of Health. Women will be required to talk with the pharmacist, complete a health history form and have their blood pressure taken. Pharmacists will have to renew training certification every two years and track information on participating patients.
Women will be required to prove they’ve visited their doctor every two years. Senator Todd Weiler, who sponsored the bill, was disappointed that it took a year to finalize the rule with the Utah Health department.
“We did have to make some concessions to get the bill passed. You know we had the Utah Medical Association which represents ostensibly all the doctors in the state. They had some serious concerns about it. And also, we don't want to put any patients, their health at risk with not seeing a doctor. So, I did make several amendments and substitutions and concessions to try to reduce the opposition. I was afraid that if I ran the bill as I originally intended that it would get lobbied to death and nothing would get done.”
Smiths, Fresh Market and The Park City Market pharmacies intend to get certified in the program. The Walgreens Pharmacist said they don’t have any plans to participate. The Heber City Wal-Mart pharmacist manager did not know if they will provide the service.
The order allows women to access birth control pills, vaginal rings and contraceptive patches without a prescription. Wasatch County Health Department Nursing Director, Gina Tuffle says her agency provides a handful of services that includes women’s health. She says they work closely with Wasatch County pharmacists.
“You can access your contraception without a prescription, but you still need to be seen by your physician or your nurse practitioner or provider every 2 years in order to continue receiving the contraceptive over the counter. They're going to have to seek the care from the pharmacist as well as to see if it is still appropriate for them depending on their health needs what their family planning looks like and that’s going to be something that they're going to be screening at the pharmacy as well.”
Some pharmacies may charge a fee for the screening services but Senator Weiler believes it will be much less than the time and money it takes to see a doctor. The on-line pharmacist training is still getting ironed out and most think they’ll be ready to provide contraception services in the next couple of months.