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Bend pharmacist weighs in on easier birth control access


The Oregon House Rules Committee unanimously passed a measure written by Bend state Rep. Knute Buehler to expand access to birth control, but a Bend pharmacist isn’t sure it’s the right way to go..

The bill that advanced Wednesday offers the option to bypass a doctor’s visit for birth control pills, but from one pharmacist’s perspective, it’s not recommended.

The measure would give pharmacists the power to prescribe and dispense contraception directly to women.

If the bill is approved by the Legislature and signed by the governor, Oregon could become the second state, after California, with a law allowing women to access contraception without a visit to her doctor.

Buehler said Thursday that providing birth control over the counter could reduce unintended pregnancies.

He cited “all the momentum and support out there for something that will with fundamentally improve women’s health, decrease unintended pregnancies — and all the while also decreasing the cost as well.”

At Westside Pharmacy, pharmacist Amy Tice says receiving over the county birth control pills without getting a doctor’s recommendation first can be a concern.

“Messing with someone’s hormones is not little,” she said. “It needs to be something where they’ve seen a provider, I think it’s in the last three years they’ve had a visit with an office provider. And then beyond that, it’s up to the pharmacist’s discretion of what they can choose for birth control.”

Tice says there’s several oral contraceptives to choose from, and one size does not fit all.

“I don’t know if you’ve seen the amount of birth control that’s one our shelf,” she said, “but I probably have 20 different kinds that people are on, on a regular basis. There’s different forms of estrogen, different forms of the progesterone, and then different doses of the estrogen and progesterone as well.”

The billnow heads to the House floor for consideration.

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