A law signed by Gov. Phil Murphy in 2023 is now able to take effect in pharmacies across the Garden State, granting patients easier access to birth control.

Through the adoption of new rules on Monday, qualified pharmacists are allowed to distribute self-administered hormonal contraceptives to patients without a prescription.

Up until now, patients who wanted to get their hands on products such as pills, patches, rings, and injectable contraceptives had to first obtain a script from a licensed health care provider.

“In New Jersey, we will continue to protect a woman’s right to plan her future on her own terms,” Murphy said. “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."

Pharmacists who wish to operate pursuant to the new rules must complete a four-hour training program on patient screening and counseling, and how to choose the best contraceptive for someone.

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Under the new rule, a pharmacist can furnish an initial supply of up to three months of a self-administered hormonal contraceptive, with refills for up to nine more months.

“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,” Kaitlan Baston, commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Health.

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