Commentary: ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.—Regulations allowing trained and licensed pharmacists in New Mexico to prescribe contraception go into effect this Friday. New Mexico will join a handful of other states including Colorado, Oregon, and California where individuals may have their birth control prescribed and filled by a pharmacist in a single visit.
New Mexico pharmacists, with appropriate training and certification, will address contraception needs through patient education and prescriptions. Women with complex health issues will be referred to local providers for further counseling. This service will reduce barriers and expand access to contraception through local pharmacies. New Mexico physicians, nurses and community partners came together with pharmacists to develop the necessary protocol and training to ensure pharmacists can safely prescribe the medications. The rigorous approval process included review by the NM Board of Pharmacy, NM Board of Nursing and NM Medical Board.
“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,” Executive Director of the NM Pharmacists Association Dale Tinker said. “New Mexico pharmacists are committed to the health of all New Mexicans by addressing serious public health needs.”
“Allowing trained pharmacists to prescribe and fill contraception is a huge win for our rural communities, which are most profoundly impacted by our state’s healthcare and provider shortages,” said Denicia Cadena, Policy Director at Young Women United. "This policy change will significantly impact the lives of real people currently navigating barriers to the care they need, including transportation and cost. As someone raised in rural New Mexico, I am proud to have worked alongside our partners making needed healthcare more accessible to families like mine.”
“As an Ob/Gyn practicing in New Mexico, I am so excited to be a part of this multidisciplinary effort towards improving the health of New Mexicans. 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,” said Lauren Thaxton, MB, MBA, Department of OB-GYN, University of New Mexico.
“We’re thrilled that New Mexico is now one of the few states in the U.S. that will allow pharmacists to prescribe contraception,” said Erin Armstrong, staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of New Mexico. “This evidence-based policy has the potential to eliminate barriers to contraception, which is a critically important part of healthcare for so many individuals in our communities. We’re proud to work with our partners in the medical field and in the community to expand access to contraception and improve public health for all New Mexicans.”