NYS Health Dept. makes birth control available at pharmacies

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — New York State Health Commissioner James McDonald signed an order authorizing pharmacists to dispense three kinds of hormonal contraceptives to walk-in patients. This follows legislation signed by Governor Kathy Hochul in May 2023. During Tuesday’s announcement at College Parkside Pharmacy in Albany, Hochul called it a new era for New York State.

“Starting today (Tuesday), pharmacies are now allowed to dispense three different types of contraception medication, and any woman can walk into a participating pharmacy and choose the birth control method that best suits her needs,” Hochul said.

Commissioner McDonald said this will not only be available to New Yorkers, but to anyone visiting the state.

“Basically, what we’ve done today by me signing this order, is, if you come to New York, and you want to have contraception, I’ve issued a prescription for you. For this role, I’ve become your doctor as the state’s physician, and this is something I’m very comfortable with,” McDonald said.

The three options being offered are a hormonal oral pill, a hormonal vaginal ring, and a hormonal patch. You can get up to a year’s supply. McDonald said it is covered by insurance.

It’s important, but especially for people who live in parts of our state where getting an appointment with the doctor can take months and months and months,” Hochul said, “and that’s the reality that many live with. Rural areas, urban areas–there’s a lot of parts of our state, that, it’s just a big hassle to walk in and get that prescription.”

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