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New Maine law allows pharmacists to fill prescriptions for contraception

A new state law allows pharmacists to issue prescriptions for contraceptives.

Under the law, pharmacists who have completed a brief training will be able to issue prescriptions to patients who complete a self assessment.

Evelyn Kieltyka of Maine Family Planning says contraceptives still require prescriptions, but allowing pharmacists to fill them will increase access because patients won't have to wait for an appointment with their doctor.

"And we're a rural state, it's sometimes hard to get to places," Kieltyka says. "Pharmacies are everywhere, they're open more hours than our offices are open, weekends, holidays, so it just makes sense that you could go to your local pharmacy and get access to these methods."

The law, which had bipartisan cosponsors, directs pharmacists to refer patients to their doctors after issuing a prescription for contraceptives. It goes into effect 90 days after the legislature adjourns.

Maine joins more than 20 states with similar legislation.