Power to Decide Calls for Birth Control Pill to be Available Over the Counter
WASHINGTON — On May 9-10, 2023, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will hold an advisory committee meeting to consider making Opill®, a brand of progestin-only birth control pill, available over-the-counter (OTC) without a prescription. Making it available over the counter is critical for expanding access to reproductive health care for all people.
Power to Decide CEO Raegan McDonald-Mosley, MD, MPH issued the following statement in support of making birth control pills available over the counter:
“We know that barriers to accessing contraception contribute to non-use or inconsistent use of contraception. For people to achieve reproductive well-being and have the power to decide when and whether to become pregnant, we need to dismantle those barriers. Based on existing science supporting the pills' safety and efficacy, as well as robust public demand for an OTC pill, we strongly support having it be available OTC to people of all ages.
“As a practicing OB-GYN, I know that people can safely and effectively use a birth control pill without a prescription and without a doctor’s visit. OTC birth control pills could dramatically increase access to contraception for the more than 19 million women of reproductive age in the US in need of publicly funded contraception living in contraceptive deserts – counties where they lack reasonable access to a health center that offers the full range of contraceptive methods, who are more likely to be people of color and those living in rural communities. Living in a contraceptive desert means patients need to travel further to get their birth control method and need to take more time off of work or arrange more childcare just to get to their appointment. However, contraceptive deserts typically have pharmacies or other retail settings where an OTC birth control pill could be available. OTC birth control pills can substantially improve access to birth control, particularly for those living in contraceptive deserts.“The pill is a safe, effective option for people seeking birth control and should be available OTC to people of all ages, ensuring that everyone who wants to use it has access.”
Power to Decide is a private, non-partisan, non-profit organization that works to ensure all people—no matter who they are, where they live, or what their economic status might be—have the power to decide if, when and under what circumstances to get pregnant or have a child.