The Sexist

Capitol Pill: CVS

Capitol Pill is a new feature which tracks contraception access in D.C. pharmacies.

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CVS, 1702 Columbia Rd. NW (and various).

This D.C.-dominating chain addresses the birth control question as it does all things: with impatient efficiency. “Yes, yes, yes,” said the pharmacist on call at CVS’ Adams Morgan location when asked about birth control, emergency contraception, and abortion pills. Plan B will run you up to $50; abortion pills such as Mifeprex, which induces contractions to terminate pregnancy, are available with a prescription but could take a few days to stock if not currently on shelves. Condoms, 48 varieties of them, are offered up like vending machine candy bars: Push button, pull lever, remove product.

Mike DeAngelis, public relations director for CVS, explains the chain has a “policy to fill prescriptions for all legally prescribed medications,” including birth control and emergency contraception. (Though the FDA approved over-the-counter sale of emergency contraception in 2006, a prescription is still needed for patients under 18 years old). However, Joe Pharmacist can opt out of filling your pill prescription. “Under federal law and some state laws, we must also accommodate a religious conviction that may prevent a pharmacist from dispensing a medication,” DeAngelis says. Under that circumstance, however, “other arrangements can be made in advance to ensure the customer’s prescription needs can be satisfied.”

KNOCK-UP RISK: Low, low, low. Next.

  • Will Sommer

    CVS does quality work on contraception, but isn't there some deal about those vending machine-like condom dispensers actually being bad at promoting condom use? Nothing will ever be as bad, of course, as condoms behind locked cases.

  • Amanda Hess

    You're right. Condoms are small and expensive and (to some) shameful, so stores that want to limit shoplifting resort to all sorts of measures to keep them hard to lift. The result, of course, is that they become harder to buy, too. I actually think the CVS push-button system is a less offensive option than the lock-and-key (at least you don't have to ask someone to get your condoms for you). But it does make the process really conspicuous. I don't feel awkward buying condoms, but a couple years ago, I would have found that system pretty embarrassing.