If passed, SB 154 would make oral contraceptives available without a prescription.
According to the bill, pharmacies, including mail-order pharmacies, could dispense oral contraceptives "to persons 18 years of age or older without a prescription after an initial consultation with a licensed or certified health care provider."
The products would only be dispensed by pharmacy employees and would not be accessible by the public without the assistance of a pharmacy employee. The package would also contain a warning label: "WARNING: Use of oral contraceptives carries the risk of side effects. Consult your physician before use.”
Opponents of the bill cite concerns with costs, restrictions on age, and transparency related to protocols for pharmacies and consumers. Some have also expressed concern at the administrative logistics behind pharmacists writing prescriptions as well as counseling and evaluating patients.
Supporters, however, argue that women should have the same access to contraceptives as do men. Others cite research in which an increase in pharmacist involvement in patient care improves outcomes, increases adherence, and decreases costs.
A related bill in the House is proposing to form a commission to study the proposed policy and questions about protocols and implementation.
Do you think oral contraceptives should be available without a prescription from a doctor in NH? Join the discussion in the comments below.
UPDATE: Read our Citizen Voices℠ report and find out where New Hampshire stands on this issue.