Sep 12, 2022 - Health

FDA schedules meeting to review over-the-counter birth control pill

Illustration of a pack of contraceptive pills and abstract shapes.
Illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios

The Food and Drug Administration on Monday said it has scheduled a meeting to discuss a proposed birth control pill that would be accessible over the counter.

Why it matters: As abortion rights remain in flux in a post-Roe U.S., the pill from pharmaceutical company Perrigo would be the first birth control pill in the country to be available without a prescription, according to the provider.

  • Perrigo's Opill is a progestin-only, daily oral contraceptive. It has been available for sale with a prescription since 1973, but in July, Perrigo parent company, HRA Pharma, applied to the FDA to make it available over the counter.

Details: The Nov. 18 meeting between the FDA’s Nonprescription Drugs Advisory Committee and the Obstetrics, Reproductive, and Urologic Drugs Advisory Committee will be open to the public.

Context: Two drug companies, including HRA Pharma, have been in discussions with the FDA for years to bring their birth control pills to this point, the New York Times reported last year.

Our thought bubble via Axios' Oriana Gonzalez: Over-the-counter birth control pills could broaden the availability of contraception.

  • However, it might still be difficult for people to access the medication if insurance companies — which are not federally required to cover over-the-counter medications — do not cover the costs of the pills.

For the record: The American Medical Association opted in June to follow the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and urge the FDA to make birth control pills available over-the-counter to Americans, without an age restriction.

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