Illinois action blog

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Birth Control Pill Unlocked

Oral contraceptives in the grocery aisle? No way...

Yes way! say members of the Oral Contraceptive Over-the-Counter Working Group, a women’s-health clinical and research institution funded by the Hewlitt Foundation and administered by Ibis Reproductive Health. They are proposing an over the counter birth control pill and plan to present it before the FDA within the next year. This measure would increase access to safe oral contraception for many women without health insurance or with limited access to prescription drugs.

According to Meredith Melnick of Newsweek, members of the group "believe that prescription-only access to birth control is patronizing to women, limits contraceptive freedom, and is ineffective against intractably high teen-pregnancy rates.” The measure would expand contraceptive options for women who cannot afford an expensive doctors visit and teenagers who have trouble accessing doctors without the help of parents.

Some are concerned that without the guidance of a doctor, consumers might not use the proposed oral contraceptive appropriately, however, research has shown that women who have direct access to oral contraceptives at pharmacies often have a greater understanding of the potential risks than women who visit clinics.

One obstacle to tackle would be cost. “When any medication is offered over the counter, it becomes unaffordable for women whose insurance will not pay for an over-the-counter medication,” says Dr. Vanessa Cullins, vice president for medical affairs of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Dr. Susan Harlap of the NYU School of Medicine says that the low cost of oral contraception in developing countries is evidence to the fact that oral contraceptives are more expensive in the US than they need to be, and that there is a way to make birth control pills cheap and affordable.

Advocates of the measure hope to see oral contraceptive on drug store shelves within the next five years. Would you like to see it there too? Tell us why!

Technorati tags: Birth Control


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Absolutely. I'm a man and nobody makes me get a prescription to buy condoms. Women shouldn't need a prescription for birth control pills.

July 12, 2010 at 8:06 PM  

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