OB/GYN Group Backs Over-the-Counter Birth Control
But move is unlikely anytime soon
By Kevin Spak, Newser User
Posted Nov 21, 2012 9:17 AM CST
Don't get your hopes up, but some doctors think you shouldn't need a prescription for these.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – 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.

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Showing 3 of 15 comments
HerCat
Nov 21, 2012 9:20 PM CST
First I'd like to point out that most (if any at all) insurance DOES NOT cover birth control pills. Viagra, of course! Birth control pills, nope. In fact, even discount prescription programs do not offer discounts on birth control pills. Whoever wrote this piece has obviously never been on the pill, otherwise they would already know this and be pissed about it (Oh wait, a guy did write this piece. Surprise!!). I know because I spent 30 years paying full price out of pocket every month while watching the prices skyrocket over the years. So, when it comes to over the counter "affordability" nothing would be different....at least when it comes to just buying the pills. It would, however, be massively cheaper not having to pay to go to the doctor and pay for ridiculous tests you neither want or need. These two things together would mean a lot more accessibility for a lot more women; something rather important in a country that seems hellbent on stamping out choice, but that requires two incomes to survive. Second, other countries such as Brazil have been selling birth control pills over the counter since the 80's and, amazingly, their women are still alive!
DougMasters
Nov 21, 2012 12:05 PM CST
"Women shouldn't need a prescription or doctor's exam to buy birth control pills" I have believed that for.... a while. "Over-the-counter drugs generally aren't covered by insurance, which could lead to affordability issues." Well we could, ya know, try to fix the price gouging that big pharma has goin on... or stop relying so much on health insurance and go full tilt nationalized health care thus solving most of these affordability options.... But hey who says we need good ideas around town?
tran_tor
Nov 21, 2012 11:32 AM CST
I would be surprised if this happens. Doctors and places like Planned Parenthood make a large sum of money by requiring women to come in up to 4 times a year to 'renew' their birth control. And if you miss the appointment or don't have the cash, well, they provide abortion services too. It's all about money people.