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N.J. governor signs legislation allowing pharmacists to dispense hormonal contraceptives without requiring a prescription

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy Friday signed legislation that allows pharmacists in the state to dispense self-administered hormonal contraceptives to patients without requiring a prescription. 

Patients are typically unable to access self-administered hormonal contraceptives, including contraceptive pills, patches, and rings, in New Jersey without first obtaining a prescription from a licensed healthcare provider. The bill authorizes pharmacists to furnish self-administered hormonal contraceptives to patients without an individual prescription and identifies the contraceptives that pharmacists are authorized to dispense.  

“While many other states are working to restrict access to reproductive health care – including contraceptives – our state continues to protect this fundamental right and expand access to this critical care on behalf of all who need it,” Murphy said. “The current requirement of an individualized prescription imposes an unnecessary burden on people who may be unable to afford or find the time to go to a health care provider for a prescription. Removing that requirement will promote health equity and ease of access to contraceptives in order to empower women to make their own reproductive choices.”

Access to contraception without a prescription will not be limited solely to New Jersey residents. New Jersey pharmacists will be permitted to provide these contraceptives to patients regardless of the patient’s residency.   

“Since the Dobbs decision, state legislatures around the country have put a stranglehold on freedom, passing laws limiting access to abortion, with eyes on restricting the right to contraception. This from the states that use terms like freedom in their state slogans and government seals,” said Congresswoman Watson Coleman. “But in New Jersey, we both talk the talk and walk the walk. New Jersey has emerged as a beacon of light to people across the country fearing for their rights, for their health, for their future. This law will help that light shine just a bit brighter.”  

In order to dispense self-administered hormonal contraceptives to patients without a prescription under the bill, pharmacists will have to follow procedures and protocols adopted jointly by the Board of Pharmacy and the State Board of Medical Examiners and complete a training program.

 “New Jersey is a leader in protecting reproductive health and rights,” said Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli. “This law removes access barriers to hormonal contraceptives and puts in place the necessary safeguards and protocols that will protect patient health, safety, and privacy for New Jersey’s residents.”