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Birth Control Will Soon Be Available Without A Prescription In The US

It's the first time an over-the-counter birth control pill has been approved in the US.


Rachael Funnell


Rachael Funnell

Digital Content Producer

Rachael is a writer and digital content producer at IFLScience with a Zoology degree from the University of Southampton, UK, and a nose for novelty animal stories.

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over-the-counter birth control

Opill is a form of birth control that will soon be available without a prescription.

Image credit: WindNight /

A birth control pill that can be purchased without a prescription has been approved for use in the US for the first time. The over-the-counter drug received groundbreaking approval from the US Food And Drug Administration (FDA), and will be available online and in-store.

“Today’s approval marks the first time a nonprescription daily oral contraceptive will be an available option for millions of people in the United States,” said Dr Patrizia Cavazzoni, director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, in a statement. “When used as directed, daily oral contraception is safe and is expected to be more effective than currently available nonprescription contraceptive methods in preventing unintended pregnancy.”


A vote for the approval of Opill saw 17 medical experts lend their support with no opposition back in May, and now the FDA are joining them. Drugs seeking this kind of approval need to establish that they can be taken safely without the need to talk it over with a medical professional.

It’s a progestin-only birth control pill, sometimes called the mini pill, which means it’s less likely to cause complications for people with a history of blood clots or strokes, unlike the combined pill that also contains estrogen.

It’s been over a year since the historic Supreme Court decision that underpinned the right to abortion in the country was repealed in the US. There are now 25 million women of reproductive age living in states where abortion has either been banned or is more difficult to access than before.

According to the Sepsis Alliance, data indicates that pregnancy-related deaths could rise 20 percent or more in these areas, while “near miss” events that could have resulted in a death, or lasting complications, are likely to follow suit. It’s therefore hoped that increasing access to birth control may reduce a person’s risk of pregnancy-related death and illness.


"Nonprescription availability of Opill may reduce barriers to access by allowing individuals to obtain an oral contraceptive without the need to first see a health care provider," said the FDA, and "help reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and their potential negative impacts."

[H/T: LiveScience]


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