Dear Sen. Gonzales,
The R Street Institute is writing to support Senate Bill 1082, which would allow pharmacists to provide hormonal birth control prescriptions in Arizona. R Street is a Washington, D.C.-based think tank with a western office in Sacramento. We promote pragmatic free-market solutions. One of our core issues is commercial freedom—i.e., removing government barriers that limit business activity and consumer choice.
Pharmacists can now prescribe hormonal contraception in 17 states and the District of Columbia, including most of Arizona’s neighboring states, but not in Arizona. First enacted in Oregon in 2016, the pharmacy access model has been widely studied for its safety and ability to increase birth-control access for at least a decade.
Allowing pharmacists to prescribe hormonal contraception has proven beneficial in many ways. The expansion of pharmacists’ scope of practice allows them, as medication experts, to offer services that they are well equipped to provide. As a result of pharmacists prescribing birth control, research shows that unintended pregnancies and taxpayer dollars spent on public health insurance programs decrease.
Further, pharmacist prescriptions have shown to more likely reach younger and uninsured women, meaning that obtaining regular doctor’s visits just to maintain a birth control prescription is out of reach for many of these women.
Fortunately, the quality of a consultation for birth control does not suffer when put into the hands of pharmacists. A typical doctor’s visit to obtain birth control includes a self-reported medical questionnaire, a blood-pressure test and a talk with the doctor about which types of contraceptives are right for the patient. Pharmacists are more than capable of performing these services, and over 3,300 pharmacies across the country now offer them.
Expanding consumer options of birth control providers means more women can access safe and effective contraception during a time when doctors are increasingly hard to come by in the states. Even beyond the COVID-19 pandemic’s negative effect on access to health care, Arizona faces physician shortages, especially in rural areas.
Finally, the medical community has largely supported easier access to birth control. In fact, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, as well as the American Academy of Family Physicians, have stated that hormonal birth control should be available entirely over the counter instead of prescribed. This is because these methods are safe and effective, and women are capable of choosing which method works for them.
I’ve attached a short “R Sheet” with some details about birth-control access in Arizona. I’ve also included a policy brief  that explains the outcomes of pharmacist-prescribed birth control in the states.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Western Region Director
R Street Institute
Arizona lobbyist number: 3612711
- “policy brief”: https://www.rstreet.org/2020/12/09/pharmacist-prescribed-birth-control-the-evidence-on-outcomes/