Washington, D.C. — The following is a statement from Verda J. Hicks, MD, FACOG, president of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), and Christopher M. Zahn, MD, FACOG, interim chief executive officer of ACOG:
“Today’s announcement of FDA approval of the OTC sale of progestin-only birth control is a critically important advancement in the accessibility of reproductive health care. ACOG has long supported OTC access to hormonal contraception, and we are glad that more patients will now be empowered to choose when and where they obtain a safe method of contraception without having to wait for a medical appointment or for a prescription to be filled.
“Barriers to access are one reason for inconsistent use or lack of use of contraception. Allowing individuals to access birth control at their local pharmacy or drug store will eliminate some barriers, such as taking time off work for an appointment, paying an office visit copay, or navigating sometimes-confusing prescription refill protocols. This change will allow for more patients to easily begin and continue using birth control consistently.
“Several studies have demonstrated that women effectively use self-screening tools to determine their eligibility for hormonal contraceptive use. There are very few contraindications for the use of progestin-only contraception. Data support that progestin-only birth control is safe and carries no or minimal risk for adverse effects such as venous thromboembolism. We trust our patients to safely determine if hormonal contraception is right for them.
“While today’s approval is a huge step toward increasing the accessibility of oral contraception for adults and adolescents who choose this method, affordability of OTC contraception is essential.
“Additionally, while birth control is not a substitute for abortion access, contraceptive access is increasingly important for people living in states with abortion restrictions. The FDA’s approval today will provide another option for patients to make their own reproductive health care decisions.
“Contraception is a critical component of reproductive health care, and we are pleased that patients now will have one more option for accessing birth control. ACOG will continue working to remove barriers to access to contraception, including ensuring that ACA cost-sharing rules are applied and that increasing legislative interference in the practice of medicine is eliminated.”