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» Got Questions? Get Answers. » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sexual Ethics and Politics » Over the counter birth control

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Author Topic: Over the counter birth control
rabbles
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Member # 58381

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So I've read a few news articles/opinion pieces about the potential for over the counter, long term hormonal birth control.

The pros would be obvious-- easier access for uninsured, younger women with no appointment.

The reported cons-- pills would be more expensive over the counter, women whose insurance only pays for prescription meds would not be covered. A woman who would usually have an appointment to get HBC would usually have her other routine exams in the same sitting. I'm not sure it's fair to hold the pill hostage in exchange for those routine exams, but that's just my take.

I read that the biggest roadblock is that the FDA has never approved an over the counter medication for long term use (even though things like asprin are used long term, it isn't technically approved for that).

And yes, I realize that there are other methods of BC that are available without a prescription-- barriers, spermicides, etc.

But I was wondering what the Scarleteen volunteers/users/audience thought of the possibility of the pill's availability over the counter. Good thing, bad thing, useless thing?

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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Great topic!

I think that the pros outweigh the cons with making oral contraceptives (or rings: the patch is a bit of a different story, since it has the most estrogen) over the counter, and that we could even get some adjustments made to diminish those cons. For instance, they wouldn't have to be more expensive: just because it's likely the pharma companies would do that doesn't mean it has to be that way. Same goes with the insurance companies.

I agree with you: it's great that women on the pill who would blow off preventative care sometimes get it with their pill visit, but I agree, I don't think it's sound to withhold contraception by that merit.

There are certainly going to be some tricky bits with it, mind. For instance, there are a TON of brands of pill, and finding the right one for a given person tends to involve education. I do think we could do consumer education around this, but it is asking a lot of some folks. As well, people would miss out on a visit with a provider being very clear with them on how to use it... and yet, unfortunately, a lot of people miss out on that even when they're seeing a provider.

But on the whole, aside of it undoubtedly resulting in an organization like ours winding up with more work on our plates (and I'd be totally down with taking that hit for increased access), I'd say it'd be pretty fantastic if it could happen.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Jill2000Plus
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quote:
Originally posted by rabbles:
women whose insurance only pays for prescription meds would not be covered.

That does really concern me, if what you mean by that is that women who previously got their birth control on their insurance would now have to pay for it. I also hope they prohibit pharma companies from charging more for it over the counter.

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Always knock before entering my room when I am in there alone, as I may be doing all sorts of wonderfully thrilling things that I'd rather you didn't see.

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LimeGreenLovexX
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I think it would be a fabulous thing. Yeah, it being so expensive concerns me, but I think it would benefit people in the long run. Also, if there was an FDA approved over the counter birth control, insurance policies might change to cover it.

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"Being Happy doesn't mean that everything is perfect. It means that you've decided to look beyond the imperfections" -Unknown

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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We actually have a great example of that right now with Plan B, which is FDA approved and, for those over 17 in the US, is over-the-counter. To my knowledge, it's still covered by many insurance plans: I had people use insurance to pay for it at the clinic I used to work at plenty of times.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Posts: 68232 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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