The Missouri House of Representatives will consider House Bill 233 this week, which could allow pharmacists to prescribe and dispense oral contraceptives. Missouri law currently only allows physicians to prescribe this medication. A few states in the country already give pharmacists the ability to prescribe oral contraceptives. Representative Lauren Arthur, a democrat from Kansas City, said passing the bill would put Missouri on the forefront of positive health initiatives.
Arthur discussed the importance of the bill in preventing unwanted pregnancy and giving women autonomy over their bodies, but said the most important thing is increasing access. “Thirty-seven percent of Missouri’s population lives in rural counties, but only eighteen percent of primary care physicians are located in rural counties,” said Arthur. Her hope is that this bill would give more women, especially those in rural areas, access to contraceptives if they choose to use them.
Representative Lynn Morris, a Republican from Nixa, said not all pharmacists would be immediately qualified to prescribe oral contraceptives. Depending on their schooling and certification, some pharmacists might have to take more courses to be qualified to do so.
Roger Sommi, Associate Dean of UMKC School of Pharmacy at MU, said that it would be up to state pharmacy boards to outline regulations. “They’d have to promulgate the rules,” Sommi said.
Arthur said some who are opposed to the bill might have concerns about women with certain medical conditions or health issues receiving the proper care and prescription contraceptive to fit their health needs.