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Drug makers are facing growing pressure to sell contraception without a prescription. And this weekend, the nation’s largest physicians group could join in the chorus calling to expand access to birth control.

At the American Medical Association’s annual meeting in Chicago, delegates will vote on a resolution to encourage contraceptive makers to submit applications to the Food and Drug Administration to switch the status of their pills from prescription to over the counter. If it passes, the new policy would be directed more squarely at drug makers than the AMA’s current policy, which focuses on the FDA’s role.


“This isn’t just a contraception issue. This is a women’s health issue,” said Dr. Katherine Tynus, who introduced the resolution and works as an internal medicine physician at Northwestern Medical Group in Chicago.

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  • Katie W
    The “other uses of OTC” require a doctor to be involved. So you suspect a layperson to be able to diagnose and properly titrate a hormonal abnormality or even cancer?
    As far as insurance goes right now there is no way to get the insurance to pay for the drug unless it goes thru the pharmacy department and a claim is generated. If someone walks into the Publix or WalMart store grabs a box off the shelf and pays for it they will be paying the full price. Then the hassle is to be reimbursed since most insurance companies have dropped the send in receipts and get paid back approach. It is much cheaper to interface with National Claims system and transmit the data that way
    All in all the move is going to be worse than the current and surely will be more expensive
    As for the social commentary and the like I will let you stew on my thoughts and approaches since it is obvious you are baiting for a fight and I am only here to share facts from 30+++ years in cancer surgery and one of three docs to be the US Senates advisory team on all things medical for 4 years
    Dr. Dave

  • Requiring that oral contraceptives be prescription-based adds hurdles that can make it difficult to stay on a schedule. It’s not about the inconvenience of going to an OB-GYN it’s about having access to birth control when needed, taking responsibility and not having to rely on your partner.

  • Once again we are going to change the status quo to serve the smaller portion of society with the biggest mouths rather than the majority who often less vocal but FAR more in number
    Here we are going to shift millions of women from free OCs to paying for them to suit a few women who either can’t afford them or who want them without having to pay their OB/Gyn for the script
    Pretty much sure the PharmaCos care less one way or the other as long as sales are bolstered but the issue is the end out of pocket for the society
    The millions and millions of women who get their prescribed drugs for free will now be forced to pay for them
    Because the vocal left is once again looking to shift the economic and moral burden from the few to the many
    If you need OCs then you must be active in sexual behavior and with that shouldn’t there be some level of responsibility either to raise the child offspring or protect oneself from having such and after event occurrence
    Does EVERY activity and action HAVE to be free to the members of our nation?
    Can’t individuals take SOME personal accountability for their OWN actions and not put the issue on everyone else?
    Dr. Dave

    • Making birth control OTC doesn’t mean insurance has to stop paying for it. That’s a false dichotomy. And if you’re really a doctor, you’d know that plenty of women take birth control for reasons other than avoiding pregnancy.

      The rest of your comment doesn’t make much sense to me – how does taking birth control conflict with your insistence that people take responsibility for either raising children or avoiding having them? Are you upset about shifting away from women getting free contraception or upset that people want free contraception instead of ‘taking some personal accountability’?

  • The author states that “research has suggested that the prescription requirement might actually make women more likely to use an oral contraceptive correctly,” but the hyperlink in this sentence leads to a study about checklists for contraindications. Is this a mistake? I also don’t understand how findings that suggest an Rx leads to *more* correct usage supports an argument in favor of OTC contraception…

    • If the link was incorrect, it’s been fixed. And as the article states, the study suggests women obtaining birth control over the counter may actually do a better job taking the pill correctly than women who have a prescription – although the comparison is US to Mexico, so not totally apples to apples.

    • Thanks Katie W – yes the link appears to have been updated, and the sentence changed to add the word “removing” for the prescription requirement. The typo has been fixed.

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