Michigan pharmacists can now prescribe birth control

Photo of Angela Mulka
FILE - A one-month dosage of hormonal birth control pills.

FILE - A one-month dosage of hormonal birth control pills.

Photo provided/Rich Pedroncelli/AP

Birth control users in Michigan may soon be able to pick up contraceptives at their local pharmacy without a doctor's prescription.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced on Monday the action by the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs to allow pharmacists to prescribe birth control by partnering with doctors. The decision is a tool to protect the reproductive freedom of women in the state, according to Whitmer in a statement on Monday.

"This expansion allows for broader access to certain forms of birth control," Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, the chief medical executive for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services said in a statement on Monday. "Nearly 30% of U.S. women of childbearing age have reported difficulty obtaining or refilling birth control prescriptions."

"Expanded access to hormonal contraceptives provides flexibility for women to manage their reproductive health outside their regularly scheduled health care appointments," Bagdasarian continued. 

Whitmer wrote on Twitter Monday: "Pharmacists can now partner with doctors to directly prescribe self-administered hormonal birth control, like oral contraceptives, the patch and the ring."

The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs backed its decision stating pharmacists are trained and educated on understanding the contents, impacts and effects of the drugs on the human body.

Additionally, pharmacists in Michigan are not required to prescribe hormonal birth control and are allowed to opt out of the program, according to the department.

With the change, Michigan joins 20 other states and the District of Columbia with statutes or rules that allow pharmacists to prescribe birth control, according to the National Alliance of State Pharmacy Associations.