FDA Approves First Over-The-Counter Birth Control Pill


Kay Smythe News and Commentary Writer
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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first over-the-counter birth control pill Thursday.

The contraceptive pill, called Opill, was developed by Perrigo, which described the medication in a press release as an “all ages” non-prescription daily oral contraceptive.

“Today marks a truly momentous day for women’s health nationwide,” the company’s CEO, Patrick Lockwood-Taylor, said in the release. “Opill has the potential to radically transform women’s access to contraception and is a true testament of Perrigo’s unwavering commitment to deliver impactful solutions that truly make lives better.”

Opill is a progestin-only pill that is said to be safe for most women to use. A series of medical organizations have issued their support for its use, including the American Medical Association, the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine and more.

Perrigo went on to argue that of the six million pregnancies that occur in the U.S. every year, 45% of them are unintended. The company’s team also argued that a third of women who want birth control in the U.S. struggle to obtain such medication and that their drug “is effective and well tolerated for all ages of women and people who can get pregnant.”

It is unclear how much Opill will cost or when it will be available, Reuters noted. (RELATED: FDA Wants ‘Limits’ On Lead In Baby Food, Claims We Can’t Remove It All)

In May 2023, the outlet reported that members of the FDA were raising concerns over the use of Opill and that safety and effectiveness would be contingent on how consumers use them. In a review cited by Reuters, the FDA said that Opill has risks, such as vaginal bleeding, breast cancer and other progestin-sensitive cancers.

The pill may also have diminished efficacy in overweight and obese individuals, who make up 60% of American women in the reproductive-aged population. At the time, Reuters also noted members of the FDA highlighted that some studies conducted by Perrigo were not properly designed to assess its true efficacy.