A non-prescription contraceptive pill soon on sale in the United States

(Washington) No more need for a prescription to buy a contraceptive pill: in the United States, in a few weeks, one of these contraceptives will be sold freely in pharmacies, in certain stores and on the Internet, a first in this country in time when the right to abortion continues to decline.

“Opill, the very first daily contraceptive pill available without a prescription in the United States, will be available in stores and online at retailers nationwide in the coming weeks,” its manufacturer, the American-Irish pharmaceutical company Perrigo Company, announced on Monday. , in a press release.

Authorization for over-the-counter sales was given in July by the American Medicines Agency (FDA), which hopes to facilitate its access, particularly for young girls.

Nearly half of the 6.1 million annual pregnancies in the United States are unintended, according to health officials.

“The availability of an oral contraceptive without a prescription is a truly revolutionary step in reproductive health,” said Melissa Kottke, an obstetrician-gynecologist in Atlanta, quoted in the press release.

Indeed, having to consult a doctor to obtain a prescription “creates unnecessary obstacles for many people,” she added.

Financial assistance program

The Opill pill has begun to be “shipped to major retailers and pharmacies,” Perrigo Company said.

Already authorized in the United States by prescription for several decades, it will be marketed in boxes of one or three blisters, for one or three months, at a cost of $19.99 and $49.99 respectively.

“A financial assistance program will also be available in the coming weeks to help people with low income and without health insurance obtain Opill at low or no cost,” said Sara Young, vice president and sales manager of Perrigo, cited in the press release.

This progestin-only pill (without estrogen), however, should not be taken by women who have already had breast cancer.

Worldwide, more than a hundred countries authorize the over-the-counter sale of contraceptive pills, according to the Free the Pill coalition of organizations, many of them in Asia, Africa and Latin America.

This is also the case in the UK, but prescriptions are still required in much of Europe, including France, Germany, Spain and Italy.

Abortion prohibited or restricted

Many human rights activists have long called for non-prescription access to the pill, to make it more accessible to people who have difficulty accessing health care, including ethnic minorities, young people, immigrants or people living in rural communities.

The Opill pill is available over the counter in American stores at a time when the right to abortion is the subject of renewed attacks from conservatives in the United States.

Abortion is now prohibited or restricted in 21 states across the country, following the Supreme Court’s decision in June 2022 to end the constitutional guarantee of the right to abortion, overturning the ruling Roe v. Wade.

The subject of abortion has become a crucial issue in the November presidential election. Democratic President Joe Biden defends this right, and accuses his Republican rival Donald Trump, and his supporters, of wanting “at all costs” to further restrict access to abortions.

Last month, the very conservative Supreme Court of Alabama created a surprise by equating frozen embryos to children. However, the elected officials of this state immediately adopted a law to protect in vitro fertilization (IVF).

Republicans in Congress had also blocked Democratic-backed legislation aimed at protecting access to contraception.

reference: www.lapresse.ca

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