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August 16. 2012 11:50PM

Pharmacy board says it needs more info from Planned Parenthood

CONCORD — The New Hampshire Board of Pharmacy has decided that Planned Parenthood of Northern New England needs to provide additional information before it can renew the organization's pharmaceutical licenses.

New Hampshire Right-to-Life has pushed the regulatory board to deny Planned Parenthood its licenses, claiming the clinics lost their ability to dispense birth control pills, RU-486 and other related prescriptions in June 2011 when the Executive Council killed a contract with the organization to provide women's health and family planning services at clinics around the state.

Subsequently, the federal government contracted directly with Planned Parenthood to provide the services at clinics in Manchester, Derry, Claremont, Exeter, West Lebanon and Keene, bypassing the council.

State law requires a licensed pharmacist to dispense prescriptions, but it contains an exemption for family-planning clinics if they operate under contract with the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services. Planned Parenthood's contract is with the federal Health and Human Services agency.

In April, NH Right-to-Life filed a complaint with the Board of Pharmacy claiming that exemption no longer applies.

Michael Tierney, a lawyer with Waldeigh Starr & Peters, PLLC of Manchester, who represents the organization and is a Republican candidate for Executive Council District 2, said the board's action to table the measure was appropriate.

“My client, New Hampshire Right-to-Life, is happy Planned Parenthood is required to comply with the same statutes applied against any other applicants,” he said.

The board decided Wednesday that Planned Parenthood's application was incomplete because it failed to file written protocols to ensure drugs are safely dispensed.

“The outcome of yesterday's Pharmacy Board meeting continues the authority of Planned Parenthood of Northern New England to dispense contraception and medications under a limited retail drug distribution license while the board seeks additional documentation relative to our renewal application,” said Jennifer Frizzell, senior policy adviser for Planned Parenthood of Northern New England. “While we find the board's request that PPNNE submit information beyond what is required by the application process to be unprecedented and inconsistent with the license renewal standards, we will nonetheless seek to cooperate with the board — to keep our renewal process on track and to ensure that the needs of our patients are not disrupted.”

After Planned Parenthood applied for a license renewal in June, the group received an administrative renewal of its licenses until Sept. 1. Frizzell said the administrative license will be extended until the renewal procedure is complete.

The Board of Pharmacy's next meeting is Sept. 19.

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Garry Rayno may be reached at grayno@unionleader.com.


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