Birth Control Pills without a Prescription in California

Women can now obtain birth control pills without a prescription in California. The new law also applies to patches and other self-administered types of hormonal birth control. They will still need to answer questions and have their blood pressure taken at the pharmacy. Learn more about this new program and how it will work.

birth-control-pills - birth control pills without a prescription in California


California women can now get birth control pills without a prescription.  The pills, as well as other forms of self-administered hormonal birth control, can be obtained from any pharmacy in the state.  In addition to birth control pills, the new law also applies to patches, injections, and vaginal rings.  It does not apply to birth control methods which require a physician to insert them, such as implants or IUDs.

The law was actually passed by the California State Legislature in 2013.  However, it has taken nearly three years for the final regulations to be worked out.  The law finally went into effect on Friday, April 9, 2016.

How To Obtain Birth Control Without a Prescription in California

In order to get birth control directly from a pharmacy, the pharmacist will first take the patient’s blood pressure and have the woman fill out a questionnaire.  After reviewing the answers on the questionnaire, the pharmacist will be able to determine if hormonal birth control is suitable for her.

The woman can ask for a specific type of birth control, if she knows the kind she wants, or she can ask the pharmacist to make a recommendation.  The pharmacist will then instruct her on how to use the chosen method and provide her with information on the potential side-effects.

Insurance carriers who cover the cost of birth control are expected to continue to cover the cost when it is obtained directly from a pharmacist.  It is unclear whether the pharmacists will be able to bill insurance companies for their brief exams.  If not, it is possible that pharmacists will charge the patients.  The video below explains how the new program works:

The only states which currently allow women to obtain hormonal birth control products without a doctor’s prescription are all along the West Coast … Oregon, Washington and California.  On the East Coast, only the District of Columbia has a similar law.

Some critics of the law are concerned that women will not be monitored closely enough to make sure they are taking the correct amount of hormone for their weight.  Most consumer advocates, however, applaud the new regulations.

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