Pharmacist weighs in on oral contraceptive bill passed

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PAXTON, Ill. (WCIA) — “That’s the idea is that for a vast majority of the population it should be easy,” Andy Hudson, pharmacist and owner of Hudson’s Drug Shop, said.

He’s talking about oral contraceptives becoming available over the counter starting in January. Governor Pritzker signed the bill into law today. WCIA spoke to a pharmacy about the accessibility of the birth control, who say this should be convenient for those who use it.

“House Bill 135 that’s being signed today expands access to oral contraceptives by allowing pharmacists to access patients and prescribe those drugs,” Glen Schumock, Dean of the College of Pharmacy, said.

Next year, people in Illinois can now receive oral contraceptives from their pharmacists.

“Better access to contraceptives is an important equity issue and a problem UI health is dedicated to solving,” Schumock said.

People 18 years and older can now get oral contraceptives from their pharmacists, which can be easier than scheduling a doctor’s appointment. Pharmacists will undergo training before the January start date.

“As pharmacists and pharmacies we’re probably one of the most accessible healthcare that there is so it’d be easy for them to come in here than the doctor’s offices,” Andy Hudson said.

Hudson Drug Shop in Paxton says a person can make an appointment or go to their pharmacy for a screening. At Hudson’s, a pharmacist will go to a private room and speak with the patient. The patient will have a screening and take a questionnaire so the pharmacist is aware of their health.

“We would work with other healthcare practitioners and patients to make sure that the appropriate contraception is being dispensed,” Hudson said.

If the pharmacist declares the person in good health, then they can leave with a month of oral contraceptives and can pick up the pills each month for a year.

“As pharmacists we’re also well trained in the use of, in the side affects of medication so we’re well physician to help people with it,” Hudson said.

This bill also expands to Medicaid, which makes it accessible to those who may not have been able to get it before.

“The cost shouldn’t be a barrier to people,” Hudson said.

This will not require a doctor’s signature. Illinois is the second state in the Midwest to make this change.

Planned Parenthood also tweeted about their support for the bill, but went on to say that more still needs to be done for access to all.

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