The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists today called for hormonal birth control medication to be made available over-the-counter, without a prescription.
It makes sense – hormonal BC does meet the requirements for a switch to OTC status: “For a medicine to be granted OTC status, it must have a wide safety margin and be effective, and must bear understandable labeling to ensure proper use.” – Check, check, and doable. Birth control is extremely safe. Depending on the method, it is up to 99 percent effective when used consistently and correctly. And like most medications it is or can easily be made to be, clearly labeled.
Over-the-counter status would remove the barrier of a visit to their health care provider for many young people and allow them to purchase it as conveniently as condoms.
The only potential drawback is that with the mandate that insurance cover birth control with no co-pay, it is as yet unclear how insurance will deal with contraception that is available over the counter. But it’s very clear that the more tools young people have to prevent unwanted pregnancy, the better. Let’s keep moving toward eliminating ALL barriers to contraception.