Assembly gives OK for Maryland pharmacists to write birth control pill prescriptions

The General Assembly gave final approval Saturday to legislation that would allow pharmacists to supply women with oral contraceptives without a doctor's prescription.

The 112-23 vote in the House of Delegates sends the state Senate-approved measure to Gov. Larry Hogan.

Advocates for the over-the-counter access bill, sponsored by Democratic Del. Shelly Hettleman of Baltimore County, argued that modern contraceptives are safe enough that a physician's approval is not necessary.

It would allow pharmacists to write such prescriptions. Such proposals have failed in Congress but have won approval in Oregon and California.

Even if the bill wins Hogan's approval, Maryland women will have to wait to get birth control pills without their doctors' OK.

The law takes effect Jan. 1 and gives the state Board of Pharmacy until September 1, 2018, to write rules for over-the-counter purchases.

mdresser@baltsun.com

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