NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – Since 1976, more than 90 drugs have gone from prescription to over-the-counter status in the United States. Could birth control pills be next? That’s up to the Federal Drug Administration to decide.
On Monday, a French drugmaker submitted an application to the FDA to sell birth control pills without a prescription. The birth control pill was first approved by the FDA in 1960 by prescription only.
As contraceptives are in high demand in the wake of the supreme court’s decision to overturn roe v wade. This could be a crucial new avenue for birth control access.
But it begs the question, would the pills be sold in states that have banned abortion if they are approved?
“That conversation is happening and my understanding of it is that the legal precedent for it is currently muddy. So, whether or not there are legal precedents to prevent that sort of transportation of pills, that’s as of yet undecided. But birth control is not abortion care,” said Jessica Holzer, PhD, Assistant Professor at UNH and Public Health Expert.
The application only applies to the French company’s medication, which would be marketed under the drug’s brand name, “Opill.”
“I think it would be a really important step in increasing access to contraception, particularly in a time when access to reproductive healthcare particularly abortion care is so embattled. I think this is really welcome news and I hope that the FDA follows the science and approves these very safe birth control pills for over the counter,” said Dr. Nancy Stanwood, Chief Medical Officer of Planned Parenthood of Southern New England.
Should the FDA approve the medication, the move could come next year.