Why Utah women haven't been able to get birth control directly from pharmacists — yet

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  • tryingtosmile salt lake city, UT
    Oct. 17, 2018 10:15 a.m.

    This is Utah and do really think if Prop 2 is not passed the legislature is going to do ANYTHING fast for that bill. This is a simple and safe solution. Yet here it is jammed up. Sen Weiler gets all the credit yet the health department gets the blame and the executive branch will make prop 2 so difficult. Planned Parenthood can help until they get their act together.

  • mrjj69 bountiful, UT
    Oct. 16, 2018 11:21 p.m.

    typical bureaucracy and government over-reach.

    Politicians are against abortions, yet make birth control harder, and more expensive to obtain.

  • someguyaaron Parowan, UT
    Oct. 16, 2018 5:43 p.m.

    People thinking that they should get free birth control pills. These things are not a right! Should not be a right!

  • jeclar2006 Oceanside, CA
    Oct. 16, 2018 5:00 p.m.

    Millenial Snow - Sandy, UT
    All I know is: If there were more female legislators, this wouldn't be a problem. The laws are clearly written by people who have never had to take birth control. UGH.

    Why would you conjecture such a thing in a state were there's a significant number of women who believe the same religious precepts as the men who now fill the legislature.

    We are coming up on the 100th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment, passed Congress in 1919, ratified in 1920, we have not yet seen a significant change in the legislatures, relative to the number of women vs. the number of men.

    The statistics are that only 320 or so women have been elected to Congress, and there are such examples as Jeannette Rankin who was the first woman elected to a Federal position, 1916, and last woman elected to Congress from Montana, as she was reelected in 1940. I'll also note she was the only "no" vote on going to war in December 1941. Her reason, "As a woman I can't go to war," she said, "and I refuse to send anyone else.".

    Women like Rankin seem to be far and few between.

  • Millenial Snow Sandy, UT
    Oct. 16, 2018 3:21 p.m.

    When I moved to Utah I started only being able to get one month's worth of birth control at a time. That means every month I have a one week period to pick up my pills before I run out.

    I have children and am happily married. Why on earth is it this difficult to get a six month supply of pills? I've had the same brand and dose for twenty years!

    All I know is: If there were more female legislators, this wouldn't be a problem. The laws are clearly written by people who have never had to take birth control. UGH.

  • jeclar2006 Oceanside, CA
    Oct. 16, 2018 11:01 a.m.

    More than 50 years after Griswold v Connecticut, which held there exists a right to marital privacy, and declared a Connecticut law prohibiting any form of contraceptive unconstitutional, Utah is still making women's choices limited or difficult.

    The Pro-Life advocates also include a heavy component of those who advocate eliminating contraceptive options of any form.

    Roe v Wade is also based on the concept of privacy, and if overturned on that point, could precipitate overturning Griswold, will will allow states to enact draconian anti choice laws especially for women.

  • NeifyT Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 16, 2018 10:55 a.m.

    @Don Bixby,

    I read the article; but I agree with JSB. It appears the headline and the article are mismatched.

    You rightly point out the article says the pharmacists has to be "certified" by the State Health Department under the direction of a doctor (with all the training that would entail).

    The same is true for any doctors office. A nurse comes in asks a few questions; takes vitals, etc. The doctor comes in and doesn't do anything more than review the information a nurse gives and says yep or nope to such a prescription.

    The process the law would give, just requires a doctor at the State Department to certified that a pharmacists know what questions to ask; and how to do some things like take a pee sample to ensure the woman is not already pregnant (which is another thing that changed, when my wife got her first two-year prescription they tested once, nope not pregnant; the next time they wanted to test twice, once on the first visit then requested we come back two weeks later and test again before they would do it).

    The assessment is the same whether by a "pharmacist" or by a "nurse" the doctor is still the one in control; even under the new law.

  • NeifyT Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 16, 2018 10:48 a.m.

    @ckelly - "Pharmacists by and large (especially those in a retail) are not used to prescribing"

    What are you talking about? I suspect you read the headline but not the article.

    The article clearly says the patient needs a two-year prescription. So pharmacists are not "prescribing" anything under this law. And pharmacists already do this with plenty other medications.

    My wife takes various medications she will be on all her life. The doctor prescribes it with one year period cycles (would be nice if we could go two year cycles); but the pharmacy continues to refill the prescription every 30 days the whole year without having to go back to the doctor. Pharmacists are already doing that; so a new law that allows 2 year cycles for this particular type of Rx; should be no big deal.

    According to the article a pharmacist who has been carefully considered by a State doctor, can do a basic health assessment same as a nurse would do; but a doctor's care is still needed minimum every two years. And even the pharmacist will still charge the same as a doctors visit for the health assessment; so really there is no cost nor time savings!

    We need True Healthcare Reform!

  • NeifyT Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 16, 2018 10:31 a.m.

    Under Obamacare birth control is supposed to be a no-cost option on ALL insurance plans.

    Yet when my wife needed it (not to prevent pregnancy; but to prevent ovarian cysts); the insurance wouldn't pay for it at all. It went up from $80 to $300 for three month dosage in 2 years.

    Apparently there are loopholes in Obamacare that say that insurance only has to cover "one" birth control, and only at "one" dosage level. If that doesn't work for the woman; then the insurance can decide to not cover what she does need.

    And the state law makes just as little sense. So, before the law you could get a "two-year" prescription from a doctor. But pharmacies were not allowed to fill a two year prescription? The law allowed two-year prescriptions to take place but no one notified the pharmacists?

    That is a far different thing than the headline which says that women should be able to get it right from the pharmacist. But that is not true if they still need a prescription from a doctor in the first place.

    We really need to pass True Healthcare Reform; to bring the costs down. All preventative measures (including birth control) should be no-cost (beyond the paid insurance premium).

  • ConradGurch Salt Lake City, Utah
    Oct. 16, 2018 8:25 a.m.

    Birth control legislation? Gotta love Utah!

  • Don Bixby Centerville, UT
    Oct. 16, 2018 8:16 a.m.

    To bring this back around to Prop 2, this is what proponents of Prop 2 are worried about and why there are some of the provisions included that the opponents don't like, because of the likelihood of executive branch feet-dragging to implement the law. If the state can't even figure out how to ease the burden on women to get their birth control months later when it's something that's already legal, even after passing the legislature unanimously, how long will it take them to get medical cannabis set up?

  • Don Bixby Centerville, UT
    Oct. 16, 2018 8:11 a.m.

    JSB, did you read the article? It's the pharmacist that has to go to the health department and get certified to be able to give a health assessment to a patient and dispense birth control, without a doctor being involved. The woman still has to go to a PCP every 2 years. But the initial dispensing of the medicine for the first couple years can be done without a doctor's prescription. I hope you can recognize that birth control is different from blood pressure medicine. If you have issues with blood pressure, you are going to be going to the doctor regularly to check on things. If a woman is healthy and has no signs of anything being out of whack, they should be able to take birth control without a prescription, per the new law. If during the health assessment the pharmacist notes there is something else going on that would indicate a risk factor, they'll refer her back to her doctor for the prescription. If all is "normal" the doctor does not write the prescription - the pharmacist does.

  • JSB Sugar City, ID
    Oct. 16, 2018 7:45 a.m.

    So in order to get birth control pills, the patient has to go to her doctor and get a prescription which apparently can be good for up to two years. I have to do the same thing with my blood pressure prescriptions. Where is the problem?

  • ConservativeCommonTater Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 16, 2018 7:28 a.m.

    Didn't Gayle Ruzicka prescribe "abstinence only" as the official method of birth control for Utah?

  • ckelly Ivins, UT
    Oct. 15, 2018 7:38 p.m.

    I understand that this can be frustrating to many women hoping for easier access to birth control, but I think that seeing this from the pharmacist's point of view is important as well. Pharmacists by and large (especially those in a retail) are not used to prescribing, even if done under a standing order. With this being completely new to Utah pharmacists, I think taking time to ensure the proper procedures and training are in place before implimantation. The last thing any medical provider wants is to actively harm patients. And I understand that for most women birth control is safe, however that is not true for all women. For example, it is well documented that estrogen within most contraceptives can increase risk of clotting (think heart attack or stroke). Most are familiar with the doctor's tenet of "First, do no harm". Within pharmacy, we have something similar. Until we can ensure that all pharmacists are capable of making the determination of which women to dispense to, and which to refer to the doctor's office, I believe that is understandable that this law hasn't been implemented yet. I do ultimately support ease of access for contraceptives, but safety is always first.

  • F Alger Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 15, 2018 7:37 p.m.

    Just go to Planned Parenthood. Simple and easy.