Women can receive their birth control right from the pharmacy, without ever going to the doctor.

Utah law allows pharmacists to dispense 3 types of birth control; the pill, patch or ring, without a prescription from a doctor. Women, eighteen years and older, can get their pills, patch, or contraceptive ring directly from the pharmacist at any participating pharmacy, such as an Associated Food Store, a Costco, or a Smith’s.

Women can come directly to a pharmacy to ask about contraceptives, or birth control. A pharmacist will do a health screening of her medical and health history. The health screening is nothing to worry about. It is just a list of questions to help the pharmacist understand her health history. She will be asked questions like “Do you have diabetes?” and “Do you smoke?”

From that screening, the pharmacist determines if the woman can safely take hormone contraceptives. The pharmacist will then talk to the woman about the effectiveness and availability of long-acting reversible contraceptives such as, an IUD or hormone injection. Long-acting contraceptives are not available at the pharmacy. If a women is interested in long-acting contraceptives, she should talk to her doctor to see if it would be right for her.

Pharmacists are able to dispense contraceptive pills, the patch, or the ring. These are all contraceptives that a woman would take or administer herself. These types of contraceptives are a valuable tool to help prevent unplanned pregnancies.

The goal is to have a conversation where the pharmacist and the woman talk about her options, and match a contraceptive to her medical history, contraceptive goals, and personal preferences. If we decide together that a self-administered oral contraceptive is appropriate, we are able to dispense a medication for her to take home the very same day. She can also receive enough refills for a year.

Being able to get contraceptives right at the pharmacy makes it easier for women to plan their regular checkups around their schedule, rather than when they need to refill their contraceptive prescriptions. Getting contraceptives right at the pharmacy lowers the risk of unplanned pregnancy, but all women should still have their yearly check up with their doctor. Yearly checkups are important for a woman’s health. She should talk to her doctor about which important health screenings and tests she needs to stay healthy and prevent and screen for diseases, like cancer.

Ask at your local pharmacy if they provide this service.