June 30, 2021

Dear Gov. Ducey,

The R Street Institute is writing to encourage you to sign 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, and as such, we believe it is important to remove government barriers that limit individual choice and competition in the marketplace.

We are thankful for the many market-oriented reforms that you have championed while in office, and we are especially supportive of the recent telehealth reforms in response to the pandemic in Arizona. Senate Bill 1082 is consistent with the recent healthcare-related reforms in Arizona, in that it would make healthcare more accessible and affordable.

Allowing pharmacists to prescribe hormonal contraception directly to patients has grown in popularity in just a few years. Pharmacists can now prescribe hormonal contraception in 18 states and the District of Columbia, including most of Arizona’s neighboring states. 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.

This model has proven beneficial in many ways. Expanding pharmacists’ scope of practice to include prescribing birth control allows them to offer services that they are well equipped to provide. The pharmacy access model has also shown to reduce both unintended pregnancies and taxpayer dollars spent on public health insurance programs.

Further, pharmacist prescriptions for birth control have shown to reach more likely 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 3,500 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.

As for Senate Bill 1082, the final version of the bill removed civil-liability protections for pharmacists, but the pharmacists’ association agreed to that change because pharmacists in Arizona already have liability insurance to protect them. Given the support from Arizona legislators, Arizona pharmacists and public policy experts, we wholly recommend signing Senate Bill 1082 into law as a continuation of your administration’s focus on promoting individual liberty and limited government.

Respectfully,

Courtney Joslin

Resident Fellow

R Street Institute

[email protected]

 

Steven Greenhut

Western Region Director

R Street Institute

[email protected]