KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

OB-GYN Group Calls For Over-The-Counter Birth Control Pills

Detroit Free Press: Ob-Gyn Group: Make The Pill Over The Counter, Cut Unintended Pregnancies
In an attempt to reduce unintended pregnancies that cost the nation an estimated $11.1 billion a year, the nation's largest group of obstetricians and gynecologists said Tuesday that oral contraceptives should be available without a prescription (Erb, 11/21).

USA Today: OB-GYN Group: Birth Control Pill Should Be On Shelves
Birth control pills are so safe and important to women that they should be sold on drugstore shelves, without a doctor's prescription, says a group representing many of the doctors who prescribe them. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) takes the perhaps-surprising stance in an opinion released today and published in the December issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology (Painter, 11/20).

The Associated Press: OB/GYNS Back Over-The-Counter Birth Control Pills
But no one expects the pill to be sold without a prescription any time soon: A company would have to seek government permission first, and it's not clear if any are considering it. Plus there are big questions about what such a move would mean for many women's wallets if it were no longer covered by insurance. Still, momentum may be building (Neergaard, 11/20).

CBS (Video): OB/GYN Society Says Birth Control Pill Should Be Sold Over-The-Counter
[W]omen would not need a doctor's visit for a prescription. That raises concerns that some women who shouldn't take the pills, such as those at risk for blood clots or who have an unrecognized ailment like hypertension, may risk their health by taking them. ACOG said women should self-screen for most of these contraindications by using a checklist, such as the one from the World Health Organization. Skipping the doctor also raises concerns that women would miss out on other important women's health services like screening for sexually transmitted diseases and cervical cancer (Jaslow, 11/20).

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