Advocates push for federal approval of over-the-counter contraceptive

Amna Nawaz:

Judy, women have been able to get birth control pills with a prescription for six decades. But unlike many other countries, over 100 of them, the U.S. still has not authorized and over-the-counter option yet.

Now a French drugmaker, HRA Pharma, is asking the FDA to approve a daily birth control pill offered over-the-counter for the first time. The same pill was approved by prescription only back in 1973, but has not been marketed in the U.S. for over a decade. It’s a progestin-only pill called Opill. And the FDA’s review may take 10 months or so.

Dr. Jennifer Villavicencio heads equity transformation for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, or ACOG, as it’s known. She joins me now.

Doctor, welcome to the “NewsHour.” Thank you for making the time.

So let’s just start with your view on this. What do you think? Should the FDA approve this over-the-counter status?

Dr. Jennifer Villavicencio, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists: Thank you so much for having me.

And, at ACOG and as a board-certified obstetrician/gynecologist, I’m thrilled to see this application. As you mentioned, we are out of step with our peer countries as it relates to over-the-counter birth control. We have excellent data to show that it is safe and really helps people who need birth control be able to access it without the barrier of prescription.

And so we’re excited at the prospect that the FDA may allow over-the-counter birth control in the United States.

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