The controversy over oral contraceptives raises one obvious question: Why the heck aren't they available over the counter? "True, making the pill available over the counter could reduce the amount of outrage and invective available for entertaining radio audiences," Virginia Postrel of Bloomberg quips. "But the medical risks are quite low." Birth control pills are safe, effective, and require no medical diagnosis. Women are perfectly capable of deciding for themselves if they want them.
Sure, "the pill" has side effects, but so do "antihistamines, ibuprofen, or the Aleve that once turned me into a scary, hive-covered monster," Postrel writes. Some argue that it's important that women visit a doctor annually, but that "is, to put it bluntly, extortion," suiting doctors' financial interests, not patients' needs. "The real question now isn't whether allowing over-the-counter sales would benefit women and prevent unwanted pregnancies—the evidence is overwhelming that it would," but whether any drug company will step up to the plate. Full column here.