Birth Control Over the Counter? Organization Calls for the Idea to be Considered

By Emily Murray

For many women, using some form of birth control is commonplace. Whether it be a shot, pill or patch, there are endless options out there but time and again oral contraceptives have come out on top when it comes to overall effectiveness in pregnancy prevention.

Why then are so many pregnancies still unplanned? That’s a question that varies from situation to situation but one common reason (many experts believe) is that it’s harder for lower income women and teens to actually make doctor’s appointments for medical exams. Because oral contraceptives currently require a prescription, those who can’t get to the doctor’s are out of luck. This is the exact reason that the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists requested that birth control pills be made available as over the counter drugs.

Those against this move cite the potential for health complications if the pill is taken without the patient first having an exam from the doctor. It has been proven however in several studies that the pills can be taken safely in most cases and that patients themselves can monitor for signs of difficulty.

One concern that is said to potentially outweigh the benefit of easy acceptability is that the cost could be driven up if the pill becomes and over the counter medication. Currently most insurance companies help cover the majority of the cost but what would happen if a prescription was no longer necessary? Would it still be less than a copay at the doctor’s office and another at the pharmacy?

Time will tell when the outcome is revealed but it is definitely causing some chatter on both the pro and con end. What do you think? Should birth control be made an OTC drug? Do you think it would cut down on unwanted pregnancies?