Today (July 13), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced their approval of the first over-the-counter birth control pill in the country. The contraceptive, Opill (norgestrel), is the only one on the market to contain the hormone progestin. It will soon provide women with a viable option at both brick-and-mortar pharmacies and online outlets.
Patrizia Cavazzoni, M.D., the director of FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, shared a statement on the decision via press release. “Today’s approval marks the first time a nonprescription daily oral contraceptive will be an available option for millions of people in the United States,” she said. “When used as directed, daily oral contraception is safe and is expected to be more effective than currently available nonprescription contraceptive methods in preventing unintended pregnancy.”
As outlined by the FDA, close to half of the 6.1 million pregnancies in the U.S. each year are unintended, which has been linked to maternal and perinatal issues like the reduced likelihood of proper medical care and the increased risk of preterm delivery. The existence of a nonprescription pill is expected by the federal agency to reduce both unintended pregnancies and barriers to access for American citizens.
As previously reported by REVOLT, the company behind Opill, Perrigo, submitted an application for approval through their subsidiary, HRA Pharma, in 2022. “For a product that has been available for the last 50 years, that has been used safely by millions of women, we thought it was time to make it more available,” said HRA Chief Strategy Officer Frederique Welgryn. “We’re very proud of being the first company to submit the first-ever application to the FDA for daily birth control over the counter.” In addition, Welgryn referenced the Supreme Court’s strike down of Roe v. Wade, calling their product “a bit of light in this very dark moment.”