A birth control pill container. (Mike Derer/ASSOCIATED PRESS)

The June 10 news article “New Mexico moves to ease access to birth control” highlighted efforts across the country to address the barriers many women face in obtaining hormonal contraceptives and mentioned as states that have authorized pharmacists to prescribe and dispense contraceptives California, Oregon, Colorado and Washington.

With Maryland’s rate of unintended pregnancies at 58 percent , higher than the national average, members of the Maryland General Assembly passed legislation this past session (HB 613/SB 363) that sets up the framework for women in Maryland to obtain their birth control from Maryland pharmacists. Regulations under development include pharmacist training, patient assessment protocols, communication with physicians and guidelines for patient referrals to physicians for additional care.

The legislation was supported by the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Maryland Nurses Association and backed by high-impact studies that demonstrate the value pharmacists bring to patient care.

Natalie D. Eddington, Baltimore

The writer is dean of the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy.