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Emergency Contraception


California explicitly allows pharmacists to provide emergency contraception (EC) directly to women without a prescription.  A pharmacist may provide EC to a woman under standardized procedures or protocols developed by an authorized prescriber and the pharmacist or under standardized procedures or protocols developed and approved by the State Pharmacy Board and the Medical Board of California in consultation with the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), the California Pharmacist Association, and other appropriate entities.

A pharmacist must provide all EC recipients with a standardized fact sheet that includes the indications for use of EC, the appropriate method for using EC, the need for medical follow-up, and other appropriate information.  The State Board of Pharmacy, in consultation with the State Department of Health Services, ACOG, the California Pharmacists Association, and other health-care organizations, is charged with developing the fact sheet.

A pharmacist, pharmacist's employee, or pharmacist's agent is prohibited from directly charging a patient a separate consultation fee for EC but may charge an administrative fee not to exceed $10 above the retail cost of the medication.

All pharmacists providing EC must first complete an EC training program that consists of at least one hour of approved continuing education about EC.

Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code §§ 4052-4052.3 (Enacted 2001; last amended 2003).


California law ensures that sexual-assault survivors receive access to emergency contraception (EC) in hospital emergency rooms.  As part of the minimum standards for the examination and treatment of a sexual-assault survivor, a physician or other health-care provider must offer a sexual-assault survivor EC and provide EC to her upon request.

Cal. Penal Code § 13823.11(e) (Enacted 2002).

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