This week, a first-of-its-kind study examining US women's and teen's interest in over-the-counter (OTC) access to a progestin-only birth control pill (POP) was published in Women's Health Issues. The research, authored by myself and Daniel Grossman (Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health, UCSF), found 39% of adults and 29% of teens reported likely use of an OTC POP, with interest increasing to 46% for adults and 40% for teens if the pill were covered by insurance. The level of interest was similar to findings from a 2013 study on OTC birth control pills that didn't specify a hormonal formulation, suggesting that the type of pill that goes OTC matters less to people than the increase in access.
Other notable findings include:
- Nearly one in four adults and teens not currently using contraception said they would be interested in using an OTC POP.
- A clear majority of women (85%) reported they would continue to visit their health care provider to obtain gynecologic screenings, such as Pap smears and tests for infection.
- Among current condom users interested in an OTC POP, a majority of adults (61%) and teens (71%) said they would likely continue to use condoms while using an OTC pill.
Kate Grindlay Kelly
Ibis Reproductive Health
The Oral Contraceptives (OCs) Over-the-Counter (OTC) Working Group is a coalition of reproductive health, rights, and justice organizations, nonprofit research and advocacy groups, university-based researchers, and prominent clinicians who share a commitment to providing all women of reproductive age easier access to safe, effective, acceptable, and affordable contraceptives. The working group was established in 2004 to explore the potential of over-the-counter access to oral contraceptives to reduce disparities in reproductive health care access and outcomes, and to increase opportunities for women to access a safe, effective method of contraception, free of unnecessary control, as part of a healthy sexual and reproductive life.
The working group is coordinated by Ibis Reproductive Health.