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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Contraceptive services expanding to more independent, chain pharmacies

Contraception can now be accessed through pharmacies across the state. (Courtesy photo)

SOUTHEASTERN N.C. — In an effort to make contraceptive services more available to underserved communities, HB 96 passed a few years ago to allow pharmacies to sell birth control without a prescription from a medical provider.

In the tri-county region some independent pharmacies and chains, including Walmart, already have begun selling them and administering injectable prescriptions, as well as offering counseling and education from a pharmacist about options and preventative services. This includes connecting to ongoing care, as needed.

Now, it’s expanding access. Roughly 84 counties in the state are filling coverage gaps, with Walgreens beginning services in select counties, including in the eastern part of the state, by the end of this June.

“Expanding access to reproductive health care improves health outcomes for mothers, babies and families in North Carolina,” according to North Carolina Health and Human Services Secretary Kody H. Kinsley, stated in a press release.

It includes people who may not have a doctor to receive contraception, pre-natal vitamins and other health care resources, especially as more than half of North Carolinians pregnancies are unintended.

“This is particularly beneficial in rural areas that have fewer providers and are considered maternal health and contraceptive deserts,” the release notes.

Participating pharmacies can be found here.

NCDHHS has partnered with the UNC School of Pharmacy and the North Carolina Association of Pharmacists to support adoption of the protocols. The state’s Medicaid began enrolling pharmacists as providers and paying a counseling code in January 2024.  

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Shea Carver
Shea Carver
Shea Carver is the editor in chief at Port City Daily. A UNCW alumna, Shea worked in the print media business in Wilmington for 22 years before joining the PCD team in October 2020. She specializes in arts coverage — music, film, literature, theatre — the dining scene, and can often be tapped on where to go, what to do and who to see in Wilmington. When she isn’t hanging with her pup, Shadow Wolf, tending the garden or spinning vinyl, she’s attending concerts and live theater.

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