Over-the-counter birth control pills are coming to America. The F.D.A. has approved a hormonal birth control pill to be sold sans prescription. Although many countries in Latin America and Europe have had OTC birth control pills for years, this will be the first time it will be available in the U.S.—and it will be on pharmacy shelves starting in early 2024. Experts say the packs of Opill will be available CVS, Walgreens, or Rite Aid and right next to the condoms and the emergency contraception.
In a recent poll of 400+ global Sermo physicians:
According to the New York Times, “A 2022 survey found that 77 percent of more than 5,000 female participants favored the idea of getting the birth control pill over the counter, with many saying it would be more convenient to get it without a prescription.
Opill, also known as a ‘mini pill,’ contains only progestin, a synthetic version of progesterone. Progestin-only pills have been widely used in the United States since the first one was approved in 1973. The Opill works primarily by thickening mucus in the cervix to make it harder for sperm to enter the uterus, said Dr. Katrina Heyrana, an OB-GYN at the family planning program at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles.”
Here is more of what Sermo physicians have to say on this topic—their medical perspectives and opinions—in their own words:
“Women need to have control over their own bodies. Unwanted pregnancies and terminations are far more dangerous and risky.”—General Surgery, U.K.
“With I think the decision to liberalize the sale of contraceptive pills is very wise, taking into account that access to these pills for women of childbearing age will increase. The challenge now is that each woman has the opportunity to be counseled to choose the right pill for her. Excellent decision. women’s rights constantly being trampled on, this is a win.”—Rheumatology, U.S.
“I concur with the already posted comments. I have to say, though, that the average US consumer will probably not be able to take this treatment (daily) effectively.”—Pediatrics Psychiatry, U.S.
“It is preferable to avoid pregnancies than to have abortions.”—G.P., Spain
“It will definitely help prevent unwanted pregnancies. With restrictions on abortions, this is verry much needed. I am in favor of it. The additional advantage is there won’t be an office visit that could be months out & then there is the OV cost that is avoided as well.”—Dermatology, U.S.
“I favor OTC access, but a prior medical consultation to discuss safety and proper use would still be advisable.”—Radiology, U.S.
“All medicines (except controlled substances) should be OTC in the USA, like they are in Mexico and El Salvador, where I spend much of my time and practice.”—Emergency Medicine, U.S.
“This is very necessary in current times and thus unwanted pregnancies and the increase in abortions that put the fertile population at obvious risk will be avoided. Combined mini-pills would be better and thus reduce the chances of irregular and annoying and naturally unwanted bleeding.”—OBGYN, Colombia
“Excellent for adolescents and women who do not have healthcare coverage.”—Internal Medicine, U.S.
“I agree with the sale of birth control tablets without a prescription as it helps with birth control. In my country many are sold without prescriptions.”—G.P., Cuba
“I think the decision to liberalize the sale of contraceptive pills is very wise, taking into account that access to these pills for women of childbearing age will increase. The challenge now is that each woman has the opportunity to be counseled to choose the right pill for her. Excellent decision.”—Cardiology, Cuba
“Not having any age restrictions will cause problems along with inappropriate use / risks. While not as harmful as a combo pill which would raise potential clot / stroke risks, neither should be over the counter in my opinion. I have seen and treated the complications of young women having strokes when they obtained BCPs that they should not have been on in the first place. The chances that this pill would be used consistently / appropriately is low for most people.”—Family Medicine, U.S.
“In this case, I want to share my experience. Since in my country, contraceptive tablets are freely available, in which the family plays a more important role than the doctor himself, however, it is necessary to create health policies so that patients learn how these tablets are taken and what mechanisms to use in the case of forgetting the tablet so that they are totally effective, but I do consider that the approval by these regulatory entities of the unrestricted sale of contraceptive tablets is a very appropriate measure.”—Anonymous
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