Women shouldn't need a prescription or doctor's exam to buy birth control pills, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists declared yesterday, in a statement that the AP says comes as something of a surprise given that the doctors who make up the organization make a lot of money from such exams. But in an opinion published in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology, the group said birth control was clearly safe enough to sell over the counter, and that access should be expanded.
"Unintended pregnancy remains a major public health problem," the opinion states, and the health checkups women receive are not "medically required to provide hormonal contraceptives." Momentum is building behind the idea, and the FDA has made it known that it's open to it. But a company would have to approach the FDA and ask permission to sell over the counter, and none appear on the verge of doing so. Another sticking point: Over-the-counter drugs generally aren't covered by insurance, which could lead to affordability issues.