Birth Control

Founder Reflections on 2023 – Birth Control Pharmacist

As I’ve been thinking about this past year, 2023 has finally brought us some wins in reproductive health. And I personally had the opportunity to contribute to landmark steps forward.

⭐️ The FDA has made long-awaited changes to the mifepristone REMS program to allow pharmacies to dispense the essential drug. I was part of the research team that conducted multi-site research studies demonstrating the safety and acceptability of pharmacy dispensing of mifepristone, led by Dr. Daniel Grossman at UCSF.

⭐️ The FDA has also approved the first over-the-counter birth control pill, the OPill, which we will see on the shelves soon. My supportive testimony at the FDA Advisory Committee meeting helped committee members vote unanimously to recommend approval.

⭐️ California leads the nation by investing in abortion enforcement and comprehensive reproductive health care by pharmacists. Birth Control Pharmacists, in partnership with the California Pharmacists Association and CPhA Foundation, will provide training, technical assistance and pharmacy mini-grants to increase the number of pharmacies that provide medication abortion care and other health services reproductive. I hope that the Pharmacists CARE Initiative will be an inspiration to other states.

⭐️ Our top leadership at HHS has recognized the value of pharmacists and pharmacy-based care. When I presented at the HHS Roundtable, Secretary Xavier Becerra agreed that pharmacists are an important part of delivering this care. I look forward to seeing pharmaceutical services integrated into payment structures.

While this does not offset the ongoing assaults on reproductive health, these are important milestones to celebrate. It is a privilege to engage in such meaningful work and partner with so many talented and dedicated individuals. I appreciate the cooperation of the organizations that support this work and invite me to speak at their programs – Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, Ibis Reproductive Health, NFPRHA, Reproductive Health Access Project, UC San Diego Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, UC Irvine School of Public Health/OC Women’s Health Project, UConn’s LKS Chapter, UCSF, UNC, University of Maryland/Johns Hopkins University, California State University, California Board of Pharmacy, AMIA Clinical Informatics Fellows (ACIF) Working Group, UCLA/USC , etc.

On the other hand, in addition to all the state policies that remove and restrict people’s choices related to their own reproductive health and body, we now see the first case that threatens the availability of mifepristone in a national level. This case testing the validity of the FDA’s approval of mifepristone is a new tactic against reproductive rights. We must use our voices and vote in 2024 to protect and advance what matters.

We are passing the one mile mark but the long road to reproductive justice in this country continues.

Birth Control Pharmacist Founder, Dr. Sally Rafie, pictured with her Vital Contributions to Women’s Health Award from the ACCP Women’s Health PRN

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