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Make birth control available over the counter? Yes, to increase access and lower costs

Making birth-control tablets available over the counter would drastically increase comfort and access for a lot of women, finally main to fewer unintended pregnancies. There is not any purpose women ought to have to acquire a prescription for this widespread, protected, and efficient drug that has been round since the 1960s.

Our nationwide coverage on birth control is very misguided.

Because birth control is a prescription drug, and as a result of the Affordable Care Act requires insurance coverage corporations to present no-copay protection for birth control, American women sometimes do not buy the cheap tablets immediately from a pharmacy – as women do in most different nations. American women sometimes use a third-party payer, like an insurance coverage firm, to pay for his or her contraception. And typically, employers present health insurance coverage.

This has inevitably led to a tradition conflict, as we noticed with the Little Sisters of the Poor, a gaggle of nuns who objected to paying for insurance coverage protection for contraception, which they see as morally incorrect. Employers should not be pressured to pay for this protection; nobody ought to. And women who use birth control should not have their contraception entangled in decisions made by their boss, their insurance coverage firm, or anybody else.

In addition, this cost pipeline – amongst women, employers, insurers, and pharmacies – is inefficient and pricey. Women may even see no-copay birth control as a profit, however it’s one they pay for: Since the ACA handed, common health-insurance premiums have elevated by 105 %. Women nonetheless pay for birth control; now we merely do it by means of larger insurance coverage premiums.

This does little for women who nonetheless lack insurance coverage protection. In reality, it hurts them. As extra and extra women purchase birth control by means of insurance coverage cost, fewer and fewer women are price-conscious, direct-pay buyers, which means drug sellers face much less and much less resistance when elevating costs on this group.

On the different hand, if all women purchased birth control immediately from a pharmacy, over the counter, we might anticipate to see costs lower. This is what has occurred when different medicine have moved from prescription-only standing to over-the-counter: The worth of Claritin, for instance, fell 50 % inside one yr.

Lower costs at the pharmacy – together with skipping the step to make and maintain a physician’s appointment so as to get a prescription – means higher access to birth control. One research from the University of California at San Francisco estimates that making birth control available over the counter could lead on to a lower in unplanned pregnancies as nice as 25 %.

Most women can afford to pay a nominal quantity for primary birth-control drugs. Furthermore, there are authorities packages to present free birth control to women who’re really in want. These might proceed no matter different birth-control coverage modifications.

Some are resistant to making birth control over the counter, citing security considerations. The actuality is that birth-control tablets are very protected, and lots of the screenings at a physician’s go to, corresponding to pap check, don’t point out if a lady is an effective candidate for hormonal birth-control drugs or not. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has endorsed over-the-counter birth control, citing a number of research that present that women are able to self-screening for contraindications.

There are a few types of birth control already available and not using a prescription. Condoms, in fact, and mockingly, the morning-after capsule or “Plan B” – which features a a lot larger dose of the similar hormones as common birth-control tablets. It is mindless that “Plan A” is more durable to get.

Unsurprisingly, most women (almost two-thirds, in accordance to a 2013 ballot) favor this common sense concept. Over-the-counter birth control would increase access and comfort for the hundreds of thousands of women who selected to use these protected, widespread medicine.

Hadley Heath Manning is coverage director at the Independent Women’s Forum ( @HadleyHeath She wrote this for

The Philadelphia Inquirer

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