How close is over-the-counter birth control pills? - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

How close is over-the-counter birth control pills?

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A group of medical experts thinks birth control pills should be sold over the counter.  The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says if contraceptive pills were available without a prescription, there would be fewer unwanted pregnancies.  The hope is that with no prescription and no doctor's exam needed, more women would have access to the pill.

Many women have trouble affording a doctor's visit, or getting an appointment in time when their pills are running low, which can lead to skipped doses.  Already, anyone 17 or older doesn't need to see a doctor before buying the morning-after pill - a higher-dose version of regular birth control that can prevent pregnancy if taken shortly after unprotected sex.  Now, the influential American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists is declaring it's safe to sell the pill that way.

The push for over-the-counter birth control is nothing new, but the group says what's different now is the large body of evidence that shows "The Pill" is effective and safe. The FDA says it would be willing to met with any pharmaceutical company interesting in selling contraceptives over the counter.  The company would have to run studies to prove that the right people would buy the medication -- for example, women who aren't at risk for blot clots or stroke.

However, it may not be a win-win for pill users.  There is the issue of cost.  As it stands, birth control is a prescription, so it is covered under insurance.  If it became over-the-counter, it would be considered the same as condoms.  No word yet on how this issue would play out with the Obama administration's new health care law.  It now requires FDA-approved contraceptives to be available without co-pays for women enrolled in most workplace health plans. 

 

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