The NWHN Applauds the FDA’s Decision to Make a Birth Control Pill Available Over-the-Counter

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
This statement can be attributed to Denise Hyater-Lindenmuth (MA, MBA), Executive Director of the National Women's Health Network. Contact Director of Communications Adele Costa at [email protected] or by phone at 631 – 538 – 6348 for comments and questions. 

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The NWHN applauds the FDA’s determination to make Opill, an oral contraceptive drug, available over the counter. Decades of research supports the safety and efficacy of oral contraception, and more than 100 countries globally already make it available without a prescription.  

Opill meets the FDA’s standard qualifications for nonprescription status and can be used without assistance from a health care provider. These pills have no significant toxicity if overdosed, they are non-addictive, users can self-manage common side effects like headaches and cramping, and users can take this drug without a physician screening.  Furthermore, unlike other birth control pills, Opill only contains progestin, rather than the combination of progestin and estrogen, making the commonly-cited risk for blood clots considerably low.

Oral contraception is also the most common method of birth control in the U.S., used by 9.1 million women nationwide. Most women (77%) support moving the birth control pill from behind the counter to the storefront, as the prescription requirement is a significant barrier to access.  

As maternal health outcomes worsen and the number of unintended pregnancies continue to increase, the Network is relieved that women now have this new freedom of movement to make their own reproductive decisions.  

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The National Women's Health Network, a 501c3 not for profit, represents the health interests of women across the life continuum with an intersectional focus on sexual and reproductive health, maternal health and the health and well-being of aging women. We work to improve women’s health outcomes through state and federal advocacy, consumer health education, and grassroots technical assistance initiatives. For more information about our programs, services and initiatives visit www.nwhn.org.