An Oregon House bill passed Monday that allows pharmacists to prescribe, dispense, and administer both PrEP and PEP. The new bill clarifies that Oregon pharmacists are legally allowed to conduct HIV tests. It now goes to Gov. Kate Brown’s desk to sign.
“Throughout this bill’s journey through the legislative process, we heard repeatedly that pharmacists have the training necessary to administer these life-saving drugs,” said Democratic Rep. Rob Nosse, who cosponsored the bill, according to Oregon Public Radio.
“By making PrEP and PEP more widely available, we can get these medicines into communities that have been disproportionately impacted by HIV,” Noose said.
Lawmakers argue that stigma against those with HIV, homophobia, and transphobia have created gaps in HIV services including testing and treatment.
“This is about reducing barriers to access for life-saving medications,” said Democratic Rep. Dacia Grayber. Grayber is also a cosponsor. “PrEP and PEP are both vital parts of the toolkit for ending the HIV epidemic. By empowering pharmacists to test for HIV and prescribe these medications, we make it easier for Oregonians to get the health care services they need.”
Another cosponsor of the bill, Democratic Rep. Karin Power, said it would help provide these vital drugs to a range of communities, OPR reports: “Preventative treatments for HIV have saved countless lives, but not all communities have equal access to these drugs, and we can see the disparities in outcomes for low-income and BIPOC communities.”
“We can begin to close these gaps in our health care system and ensure that more people are protected,” Power said.