An oral contraceptive is closer than ever to being available on your local drugstore’s shelf, safe from the prying eyes of nosy pharmacists and government officials.
HRA Pharma is the first company to take the leap into the quagmire that is the FDA approval process for over-the-counter birth control. Although the pill has been around quite a while, the process of getting a product approved by the FDA for OTC use is daunting enough to discourage many manufacturers. However, HRA and the nonprofit Ibis Reproductive Health are working together to make obtaining your daily BC as easy as buying Advil.
The first over-the-counter birth-control pill will be progestin-only, which should also make it easier to get approved since existing over-the-counter morning-after pills contain only progestin, according to Ibis president Kelly Blanchard.
As of now, birth control is free under the Affordable Care Act, but it’s not quite clear if it will stay that way under the Trump administration. Although people who can access insurance through their employers wouldn’t be affected by ACA changes, Medicaid would, and removing access to free or low-cost birth control would be detrimental to women who depend on the program.
According to Vox, Ibis president Kelly Blanchard declined to say when the pill would be available over the counter; additionally, there’s no information available to the public about the pill’s name or ingredients. However, they have already started the process of research and application.