FDA Panel Recommends OTC Sale of One Birth Control Pill. Time to Approve All the Rest.

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An FDA expert panel just recommended unanimously that one type of birth control pill should be sold over the counter. Drs. Jeffrey Singer and Josh Bloom argue in their opinion piece in Reason Magazine that the FDA should not only approve the so-called "mini-pill" but allow other types of oral contraceptives to be sold OTC as well – something that is permitted in 100 countries around the world.

Jeffrey Singer, M.D. and Josh Bloom, Ph.D.

For decades, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Medical Association, and the vast majority of practicing reproductive physicians have called for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to make hormonal contraceptives (e.g., birth control pills) available over the counter (OTC) to women of all ages.

When experts in the field who get paid for prescribing hormonal contraceptives nonetheless keep telling patients, "You don't need to see me for this," government regulators should take notice. Women can get birth control pills OTC in over 100 countries, formally or informally,  around the globe. It's time for them to be OTC in the "land of the free."

The FDA might soon give access to a type of birth control pill that has been available only by prescription since 1973; in fact, today, an FDA panel voted unanimously to make birth control pills available OTC.  But here's a catch: women will only have access to one brand of one kind of birth control pill, a progestin-only pill sometimes called the "mini-pill."


# Reprinted with permission of Reason Magazine. The entire op-ed can be read here.