KFF: 77% of women favor over-the-counter birth control pills - MedCity News

More than three-quarters, or 77 percent, of women of reproductive age want birth control pills to be available over the counter, provided research shows the pills are safe and effective, a new research shows.

“Oral contraceptives are the most commonly used method of reversible contraception in the United States and studies I guess [over-the-counter] access would increase contraceptive use and facilitate continuity of use in addition to saving time spent on travel, in the doctor’s office, and away from work,” the report states.

The Kaiser Family Foundation’s 2022 Women’s Health Survey, released last week, included a sample of 5,201 people who said they were identified as female at birth. It was held online from May 10 to June 7.

The study comes as the Food and Drug Administration considers approving Perrigo’s birth control pill, called Opill, for over-the-counter use. However, the FDA recently postponed meeting to discuss contraceptives. Both American Medical Association and on American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists are in favor of over-the-counter oral contraceptive pills, KFF said.

If approved by the Food and Drug Administration, 39 percent of respondents said they would be likely to actually use over-the-counter birth control pills that do not require a prescription. That number jumps to 60% for those currently using oral contraceptives.

The main factor behind why women want over-the-counter birth control pills is convenience, the study found. Almost 60% cited this as a reason, while 15% said it would be faster. Another 8% said they didn’t want to have a physical or pelvic exam, 7% said it would be more confidential, 6% said it would save money, and 3% said they didn’t want to use their health insurance.

Of those who were unlikely to use over-the-counter birth control pills—or weren’t sure if they would—53 percent said it was because they weren’t currently using birth control pills or didn’t plan to in the future. Another 16% said they would prefer to talk to a provider before starting or refilling contraceptives.

Women who would use over-the-counter contraceptives were reluctant to pay big bucks for them, the study also found. Nearly 40% said they would be “willing and able to pay” up to $10 a month.

Under the Affordable Care Act, most private health insurance plans must cover FDA-approved birth control, but it must be prescribed. However, 41% of women of reproductive age are is not aware from this. About 70 percent of women with private insurance said their health plan fully covers their birth control, but about a quarter said they have to pay some out-of-pocket.

Photo: Andrii Shyp, Getty Images

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