General Articles

Illinois Moves to Ensure Pharmacy Access

On April 18, 2005, Governor Rod Blagojevich (D) of Illinois issued an emergency regulation requiring Illinois pharmacies to ensure that prescriptions for contraception are filled without delay.

Governor Blagojevich’s rule mandates that pharmacies "will be expected to accept that prescription [for contraception] and fill it in the same way, and in the same period of time they would fill any other prescription."1 The rule also clarifies that "without delay" means that pharmacies should treat contraceptive prescription holders the same as other clients waiting for any other prescription and that pharmacists cannot cause unnecessary delays to patients seeking contraceptives.2

The regulation places the burden on pharmacies to guarantee that pharmacists are not interfering with women’s access to prescription contraception. In addition, it mandates that out-of-stock contraceptives must be ordered according to standard procedures, and further protects patients by mandating that a prescription must be transferred to a local pharmacy or returned to the patient if the patient so desires. This regulation, which took effect immediately upon issuance, will be considered for permanent enactment by a joint committee of the Illinois legislature after 150 days.

Governor Blagojevich stated, "pharmacies have an obligation to carry out the health care needs of their customers. Filling prescriptions for birth control is about protecting a woman’s right to have access to medicine her doctor says she needs. Nothing more. Nothing less. We will vigorously protect that right."3


  1. Office of the Governor, "Gov. Blagojevich moves to make emergency contraceptives rule permanent," Press Release published on 18 April 2005, accessed 11 May 2005.
  2. Ibid.
  3. Ibid.