The move is meant to expand access to reproductive health care for women in the state.
Scope of practice for pharmacists in Michigan has expanded again. Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced recently that pharmacists can now prescribe birth control, in partnership with physicians, saying, “Access to birth control is critical to a woman’s ability to plan her family and chart her own destiny. We are taking action to guarantee that Michigan women have the right to easily make reproductive health care decisions that are best for them.”1
The decision from the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs is meant to help women have better and easier access to contraceptives. This move was part of Governor Whitmer’s executive directive in May 2022 to increase protections for reproductive health care in the event that Roe v. Wade was overturned—which came to pass in June 2022.
Under this order, physicians may delegate to pharmacists the ability to prescribe self-administered hormonal contraceptives, such as oral contraceptives, the ring, and the patch. This expansion is based on the education and training pharmacists have received, including knowledge of the contents, impacts, and adverse effects. Pharmacists can now opt into the program, but the news release did emphasize that pharmacists are not required to prescribe hormonal contraceptives if they choose not to. Prescription and dispensing practices will be reviewed during routine pharmacy inspections and any violations of the state’s Public Health Code will be investigated.
Natasha Bagdasarian, MD, MPH, chief medical executive of the State of Michigan highlighted why this expansion was so important.
“This expansion allows for broader access to certain forms of birth control. 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.”
This move is just 1 of many made by Governor Whitmer to ensure reproductive health care in Michigan. Other actions include education on the difference between emergency contraception and abortion, working through the court to reverse the 1931 state ban that remains on the books, and calling on tech firms to protect the privacy of users’ health information.
1. Whitmer announces expansion of access to birth control. News Release. State of Michigan. September 19, 2022. Accessed September 20, 2022. https://www.michigan.gov/whitmer/news/press-releases/2022/09/19/whitmer-announces-expansion-of-access-to-birth-control