Drugmaker Seeks FDA Approval For Over-the-Counter Birth Control Pills
Currently, in the United States, if you want take birth control pills, you have to have a prescription. That means you have to go to a doctor who will write the prescription for you. Then you have to go to a pharmacy to get the prescription filled. Then you have to go back to the doctor to get the prescription renewed after a certain number of months. It’s a whole process and not always an easy one.
If you don’t have a regular doctor or if getting to the doctor is difficult, an over-the-counter birth control pill might sound like a really good idea. Over-the-counter birth control pills are available in other countries such as Mexico and the U.K. It’s possible that there may be an over-the-counter birth control pill option available in the U.S. as early as 2023.
A company called HRA Pharma, which is based out of Paris, is seeking FDA approval for an over-the-counter birth control pill which goes by the name Opill.
Many birth control pills contain a combination of estrogen and progesterone. This pill does not contain estrogen, which means the risk of blood clots from taking the pill are greatly reduced; however, it also means that there is less room for user error when taking the pill in order for it to be effective. It would be even more important than usual to take the pill every day and at the same time every day.
In order for the Opill to be approved, HRA Pharma needs to prove that people who want to take the pill are capable of deciding on their own whether or not the pill is right for them. They also need to prove that people who want to take the pill will be able to take it correctly without a doctor explaining how to take it.
Victoria Nichols of Free the Pill, a group of health professionals and activists who support over-the-counter birth control pills, is hopeful that the Opill will be approved by the FDA. She said, “This could be a really groundbreaking change in access.” She added, “We believe that these pills are safe and effective and that people should be able to follow the simple instructions.”
The FDA is expected to make a decision on the Opill sometime in 2023.
Do you think it’s a good idea to have an over-the-counter birth control pill option?