New California Law Allows Pharmacies to Offer Birth Control Without A Prescription, But Few Do

A new law in California allows women to pick up birth control pills from pharmacies without a doctor’s prescription.

In California, 120 CVS pharmacy locations are offering pharmacist-dispensed birth control. Most locations are in the Los Angeles area, according to company officials. (Credit: Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

In California, 120 CVS pharmacy locations are offering pharmacist-dispensed birth control. Most locations are in the Los Angeles area, according to company officials. (Credit: Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

But more than a year after the law took effect, women say they’re still struggling to get the medicines, in part because they can’t find pharmacies offering them.

study released Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Assn. found that only 11% of pharmacies in the state are dispensing hormonal birth control to women without prescriptions. Pharmacists don’t have to make use of the law, and some are reluctant to because they’re concerned about liability, adequate staffing and a lack of reimbursement for the service, the study found.

Also at play is a supply-demand problem, experts say: Pharmacists don’t want to invest in providing the service if women don’t want it, but women aren’t aware it’s an option and aren’t asking for it because pharmacies aren’t offering it.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.