First over-the-counter birth control pill in US begins shipping to stores

This photo shows boxes of Opill, the first over-the-counter birth control pill available later this month in the United States.
This photo shows boxes of Opill, the first over-the-counter birth control pill available later this month in the United States. Copyright Perrigo Company via AP
Copyright Perrigo Company via AP
By Associated Press
Share this articleComments
Share this articleClose Button

The first over-the-counter birth control pill in the US has started shipping to stores.


The first over-the-counter birth control pill will be available in stores in the United States later this month, allowing American women and teens to purchase contraceptive medication as easily as they buy aspirin.

Manufacturer Perrigo said on Monday it has begun shipping the medication, Opill, to major retailers and pharmacies. 

A one-month supply will cost about $20 (€18) and a three-month supply will cost around $50 (€46), according to the company's suggested retail price. It will also be sold online.

The launch has been closely watched since last July when the Food and Drug Administration said the once-a-day Opill could be sold without a prescription.

Ireland-based Perrigo noted there will be no age restrictions on sales, similar to other over-the-counter medications.

Opill is an older class of contraceptive, sometimes called minipills, that contain a single synthetic hormone, progestin, and generally carry fewer side effects than more popular combination estrogen and progestin pills.

Birth control post-Roe v Wade

The launch gives US women another birth control option amid the legal and political battles over reproductive health, including the reversal of Roe v Wade, which has upended abortion access across the US.

Opill’s approval is unrelated to the ongoing court battles over the abortion pill mifepristone. And anti-abortion groups have generally emphasised that they do not oppose contraceptives to prevent pregnancies.

Birth control pills are available without a prescription across much of South America, Asia and Africa.

The drug’s approval came despite some concerns by FDA scientists about the company’s results, including whether women with certain medical conditions would understand that they shouldn’t take the drug.

Dr Verda Hicks, president of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, in a statement, said studies have shown that patients, including adolescents, can effectively screen themselves to use the pills.

Hormonal birth control pills are available by prescription only in most European countries, yet many offer free access to the pill with a prescription and over-the-counter access to emergency contraception.

Share this articleComments

You might also like