Pharmacists in New Mexico can prescribe hormonal contraceptives

Regulations went into effect on June 9; pharmacists in New Mexico are being trained to provide the service

New Mexico joins a handful of other states where pharmacists are allowed to prescribe hormonal contraceptives for patients. The regulations in New Mexico went into effect on June 9, 2017.

To prescribe hormonal contraceptives, pharmacists in New Mexico are required to complete an Accreditation for Pharmacy Education training course, which must include instruction for pharmacists on interviewing patients about their hormonal contraceptive needs, evaluating the patient’s medical profile for possible drug interactions, referring patients to primary health care providers, knowing the current standards for prescribing hormonal contraceptives, and more.

“As an OB/GYN practicing in New Mexico, I am so excited to be a part of this multidisciplinary effort toward improving the health of New Mexicans,” said Lauren Thaxton, MD, from the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology at the University of New Mexico, in a prepared statement. “A robust body of research has proven pharmacist provision of contraception is patient centered, safe, and effective. This service will enhance collaboration and build a stronger infrastructure of providers to meet our patients’ needs in reproductive health.”

According to Dale Tinker, executive director of the New Mexico Pharmacists Association, pharmacists worked long and hard on the protocol along with physicians, nurses, and other community partners in New Mexico. Authorizing legislation in New Mexico passed in 2001, which allowed hormonal contraceptive prescribing based on a protocol approved by the New Mexico boards of medicine, nursing, and pharmacy. The New Mexico Board of Pharmacy approved the final rules for pharmacists’ authority to prescribe hormonal contraceptives at its meeting on April 20, 2017. Pharmacist reimbursement for the service will have to be worked out with payers, according to Tinker.

“New Mexico pharmacists are committed to the health of all New Mexicans by addressing serious public health needs,” said Tinker. “Pharmacists in New Mexico are proud of the clinical services provided in our community pharmacies, including vaccinations, tobacco cessation products, emergency contraception, the opioid overdose treatment product naloxone, TB testing, and now contraception.”

Pharmacists in California, Oregon, and Colorado have authority to prescribe hormonal contraceptives. Bills in Maryland and Hawaii have also passed through the legislature; and lawmakers in Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, and New Hampshire are considering legislation.