First No-Prescription Birth Control Pill Is Approved

Opill will likely be available in stores early next year following FDA move
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 13, 2023 8:10 AM CDT
FDA Approves First OTC Birth Control Pill
This illustration provided by Perrigo depicts proposed packaging for the company's Opill.   (Perrigo via AP, File)

It's a US milestone in regard to birth control: The FDA on Thursday approved the first over-the-counter pill to prevent pregnancies, reports CNN. The medication called Opill, made by Perrigo Company, is expected to be available in stores in early 2024. No word yet on cost, though Perrigo says it aims to make the drug "accessible and affordable to women and people of all ages," per the New York Times. The newspaper notes that Opill will instantly become the most effective contraceptive sold without a doctor's prescription, surpassing condoms and spermicides.

"It's a transformative change in contraceptive access and reproductive health," Victoria Nichols of Free the Pill tells the Washington Post. The coalition of groups has been pushing for over-the-counter birth control pills in the US for years, though the issue gained urgency following the Supreme Court's decision last year to strike down Roe v. Wade. About 100 other countries already provide the option of an OTC pill for women. The drug is intended to be taken daily. "When used as directed, daily oral contraception is safe and is expected to be more effective than currently available nonprescription contraceptive methods in preventing unintended pregnancy," says the FDA's Dr. Patrizia Cavazzoni. (More birth control pill stories.)

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