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Pritzker Administration Expands Access to Self-Administered Contraceptives

Press Release - Thursday, May 11, 2023

IDPH Standing Order Allows Pharmacists to Dispense Hormonal Contraception to Illinois Residents

CHICAGO - Today, Governor JB Pritzker, the Illinois Department of Public Health ("IDPH") and the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation ("IDFPR") announced a new process to expand access to self-administered hormonal contraceptives, making them more available to Illinois residents than ever before. IDPH Director, Dr. Sameer Vohra, issued a standing order that authorizes Illinois pharmacists to dispense hormonal contraception following training.

"In Illinois, we respect a woman's right to make reproductive health choices," said Governor JB Pritzker. "I'm pleased that as part of that mission, we are making safe, tested hormonal contraceptives more accessible than ever by allowing pharmacists to dispense this necessary medication, removing barriers to treatment for women across the state."

"By broadening access to hormonal contraceptives, our state continues its commitment to tearing down obstacles to vital medical services and protecting equitable health care for all," said Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton. "In Illinois, we stand with women and support their right to bodily autonomy."

"Ensuring equitable access to the full range of high-quality and affordable family planning services is critically important to the public health of Illinois residents," said IDPH Director Dr. Sameer Vohra. "This standing order allows Illinois to join the over 20 states that have already enacted policies to allow pharmacists to dispense safe and effective hormonal contraception. IDPH is committed to working with our colleagues at IDFPR, as well as pharmacists and health care providers across the state to ensure medically safe, appropriate access to these medications."

"Here in Illinois, we are committed to ensuring everyone in Illinois has access to the critical reproductive care they need from qualified, licensed healthcare professionals," said IDFPR Secretary Mario Treto, Jr. "The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, along with our partners at the Illinois Department of Public Health, welcome this opportunity to safely expand this access to people across the state and will continue to ensure high quality standards in the provision of these services will continue to be met."

This important step implements a critical component of Public Act 102-0103, signed into law by Governor JB Pritzker, that removes barriers to access of birth control through the standing order from IDPH. The hormonal contraceptives that may be dispensed under the standing order are those administered orally, topically, as well as injections and vaginal rings, each of which has been approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration.

This legislative initiative was sponsored by Illinois State Senators Doris Turner, Laura Fine, Napoleon Harris III, and former State Senator Melinda Bush; as well as House Speaker Emanuel "Chris" Welch, and Illinois State Representatives Robyn Gabel, Michelle Mussman, Natalie Manley, Kelly Cassidy, Lindsey LaPointe, Margaret Croke, Suzanne Ness, Will Guzzardi, Anna Moeller, Bob Morgan, Joyce Mason, Maura Hirschauer, Katie Stuart, Terra Costa Howard, Eva-Dina Delgado, Anne Stava-Murray, Mark Walker, Daniel Didech, Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz, Elizabeth Hernandez, Barbara Hernandez, Carol Ammons, Lakesia Collins, Aaron Ortiz, Dagmara Avelar, Jonathan Carroll, Kam Buckner, and former Representatives Deb Conroy, Kathleen Willis, and Delia Ramirez.

Pharmacists who intend to dispense hormonal contraception under the standing order are required to complete training accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education ("ACPE"). In addition, pharmacists will be required to maintain proof of training and maintain all application licensure requirements pursuant to applicable state laws and regulations. When planning to dispense hormonal contraceptives to patients, pharmacists must also complete several steps, including:

• Having the patient complete the self-screening risk assessment tool that ensures prescriptions are not contraindicated for any underlying conditions,
• Referring patients to a physician who is a primary care provider or OB/GYN using their professional and clinical judgement when needed,
• Providing counseling and education about all methods of contraception,
• Meeting certain recordkeeping requirements.

More about the requirements pharmacists must meet to be able to dispense hormonal contraceptives may be found in the standing order. Additional information may also be found on IDFPR's Pharmacy profession webpage.

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