An Over-the-Counter Birth Control Pill Will Hit Shelves Soon


An Over-the-Counter Birth Control Pill Will Hit Shelves Soon

March 4, 2024
An image of the Opill box.

This piece was originally posted on Ms. Magazine on March 4, 2024. 

It’s about time that the over-the-counter (OTC) birth control pill finally hits the shelves. On Monday, the pharmaceutical company Perrigo announced it started shipping the first-ever OTC daily oral contraceptive pill, Opill, to stores. OTC birth control pills being available without a prescription marks a historic change in the way people are able to take control of their reproductive and sexual health.

In July 2023, the FDA approved the progestin-only birth control pill, Opill, for over-the-counter access. Getting a birth control pill over the counter means that anyone (no matter their age or gender) can buy it without needing to talk to a healthcare provider or getting a prescription. This pill will be available straight from the shelf at drug stores and other retail locations, likely near the condoms and lube. 

While Perrigo announced shipment to local retailers today, it may take a few weeks until you see Opill on store shelves near you. As for price, Perrigo set the suggested price for Opill at $19.99 for a one-month supply. Even though Perrigo set a recommended price, each retailer can still decide how much they charge for Opill. 

When it comes to contraception, affordability and coverage are critical to meaningful access. That is why it is essential for retailers to keep the price affordable for as many people as possible, and for health insurance companies to cover OTC birth control, including Opill, without requiring a prescription—because no price will be affordable for all who need it, and everyone deserves to have access. 

As a practicing OB-GYN, I know that most patients do not need to visit their healthcare provider to safely and effectively use birth control pills, and that the requirement for a visit presents significant obstacles for many people. Opill is currently the only daily-use birth control pill approved for sale over the counter, but other than how you buy it, it’s no different than any other progestin-only birth control pill (aka mini-pill). 

Ensuring that over-the-counter birth control is affordable, covered by insurance and accessible for all ages will especially help those in contraceptive deserts—counties where people in need of publicly funded contraceptive care lack reasonable access to a clinic that provides the full range of contraceptive methods. More than 19 million women aged 15-49 in need of publicly funded contraception live in contraceptive deserts and around 1.2 million of these women live in a county without a single health center offering the full range of methods. 

For these people struggling to make ends meet, getting birth control means having to do more than show up to an appointment. They might need to find a babysitter, take time off work or travel long distances to access a provider and get their preferred method. While OTC pills won’t be the right fit for all of them, some people may find Opill a good option that is easier to access. Buying birth control pills off the shelf means that people can start and stop using them as they like, allowing more control to prevent pregnancy on their own terms. 

At a time when reproductive health and rights are under attack, it is critical that everyone has the ability to access a birth control pill without cost barriers. Equitable access is essential so people can take control of their reproductive and sexual health journey. 

I am so proud to be among the many advocates, reproductive justice activists, researchers and providers who have been working diligently to make OTC birth control pills a reality in our country. This is truly an impactful advancement, and it is wonderful to have something to celebrate given the unrelenting attacks on the reproductive well-being of people in our country. 

As Opill hits store shelves over the coming weeks, it’s essential to ensure that everyone has information about Opill, how it works, and how it is different from other birth control pills. To learn more about Opill and other birth control methods, check out