New poll: Voters overwhelmingly support over-the-counter access to oral contraceptive birth control pill on the eve of FDA expert vote
This news release was originally posted on the Contraceptive Access Initiative's website.
WASHINGTON — As FDA experts prepare to review evidence and vote on over-the-counter (OTC) access to birth control pills next week, a new national poll shows an overwhelming mandate among voters. Conducted April 12-18, 2023, the research found that 8 in 10 voters have a favorable view of birth control pills (79% favorable, 15% unfavorable) and more than 7 in 10 voters (72%) favor making the pill available over the counter.
The FDA advisory committee meeting is scheduled for May 9 and 10, with a vote expected on May 10 on over-the-counter status for Opill, a progestin-only daily oral contraceptive pill manufactured by HRA Pharma, a Perrigo company. The FDA is also working with a second company, Cadence OTC, on an over-the-counter application for the most commonly taken birth control pill, a combined estrogen-and-progestin pill taken by 95% of pill users. Cadence has not yet completed its final testing on its product, Zena.
“There is tremendous optimism that the FDA will follow the science and approve this important advancement in contraceptive access,” said Dr. Raegan McDonald-Mosley, CEO of Power to Decide, chief medical advisor for the Contraceptive Access Initiative (CAI) and a practicing OB-GYN. “Increasing access to the pill will allow more people to prioritize their reproductive well-being without unnecessary barriers and will allow more people to make their own healthcare decisions.”
Leading medical experts including the American Medical Association (AMA), American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) have reviewed the medical evidence and endorse making the pill available without a prescription.
(For access to medical experts that can speak about the pill over-the-counter, click here).
“The public health benefit of making the pill available without a prescription is unassailable. At this final phase of the process, the only questions for the FDA are whether consumers can understand the label and whether they will follow the directions – and the research shows they can do both,” CAI Co-founder Dana Singiser said. “The pill has been used safely by hundreds of millions of women worldwide for the last five decades. We trust women to make health care decisions for themselves, including whether Opill is right for them."
Strong public support for the pill over-the-counter
Impact Research conducted an online poll of likely 2024 General Election voters nationwide April 12-18, 2023. The poll was commissioned by the nonprofit Contraceptive Access Initiative.
Additional findings from the nationwide poll include:
- Oral birth control pills are viewed favorably by 64 points (79% favorably, 15% unfavorably).
- More than 7-in-10 voters support making the pill available over the counter (72% favor, 23% oppose).
- Majorities across all demographics — party, ideological spectrum, race, gender, age, parental status — support OTC birth control.
- Age restrictions are not a decisive factor in support for oral contraceptive over-the-counter status.
- Only 7% of all voters oppose making the pill available OTC, but would support it if there were age restrictions.
- Among the 23% of voters who oppose allowing the pill to be sold over the counter, over half (56%) are opposed to oral contraception use in any circumstance.
- Hispanic women are especially supportive of birth control (83%), making contraceptives more easily available (93%) and OTC access (81%).
- ThePillOTC.org (facts, history, supporters, opponents)
- Medical experts available for interviews
- FDA Advisory Committee meeting explainer
- The FDA’s 10-month Clock to Weigh OTC Status for Oral Contraceptives
- The Federal Government Must Clarify that Private Health Plans Must Cover OTC Contraceptives Without a Prescription
- The Food and Drug Administration Should Approve OTC Oral Contraception Without an Age Restriction
The nonprofit Contraceptive Access Initiative (CAI) advocates for increasing access to hormonal contraception over-the-counter, free from stigma, bias and coercion. Follow CAI on Twitter at @ThePillOTC and on LinkedIn.