NJ Enables Pharmacists to Provide Hormonal Contraceptives Without Prescription


New regulations and a statewide order allow qualified pharmacists to provide contraceptives directly to patients in New Jersey.

NEW JERSEY – On May 20, 2024, Governor Murphy announced significant steps to allow qualified pharmacists to furnish self-administered hormonal contraceptives to patients without a prescription. This move follows legislation signed by Governor Murphy last year, which aimed to eliminate the prescription requirement for these contraceptives.

“In New Jersey, we will continue to protect a woman’s right to plan her future on her own terms,” said Governor Murphy. “Today marks an important step forward in our efforts to expand access to reproductive health care as we make birth control more accessible across the state. As we witness an attack on reproductive freedom across the country, New Jersey will continue to be a safe haven for women to access the care they need."

“Ensuring access to contraceptive options is important for supporting reproductive autonomy, preventing unintended pregnancies, and promoting reproductive health,” said Cari Fais, Acting Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs. “Eliminating the need for a prescription removes a roadblock to hormonal contraceptives for many and opens a new avenue for reproductive planning."

Previously, New Jersey residents needed a prescription from a licensed healthcare provider to access self-administered hormonal contraceptives, including injectable contraceptives, pills, patches, and rings. The new regulations, adopted by the State Board of Medical Examiners and the Board of Pharmacy, permit pharmacists to provide these products directly to patients under standardized procedures and protocols. The New Jersey Department of Health (DOH) issued a statewide standing order to facilitate this process.

Pharmacists who wish to furnish self-administered hormonal contraceptives must complete a four-hour training program. This training covers patient screening, contraceptive selection, and patient counseling. When a patient requests a contraceptive, the pharmacist must determine eligibility through a DOH-prepared health screening questionnaire. If eligible, the pharmacist can provide an initial supply of up to three months, with refills for up to nine additional months.

“For decades, hormonal contraceptives have empowered women with the ability to make decisions about their own reproductive health. In New Jersey, this expansion of vital reproductive health services and the availability of hormonal birth control without a prescription provides broader, more equitable access while putting in place the necessary safeguards that protect patient health, safety, and privacy,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Kaitlan Baston.

This initiative is part of New Jersey's broader effort to safeguard reproductive freedoms, especially in light of recent national challenges to reproductive rights. Additional measures taken by the state include expanding the pool of authorized abortion care providers, offering financial support for reproductive health care facilities, protecting providers and patients seeking reproductive services, and ensuring comprehensive insurance coverage for abortion services.

For more information on accessing family planning services in New Jersey, visit the Reproductive Health Information Hub.

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