Going Over the Counter? Legislators to Debate Future of the Pill
"It is discriminatory, degrading, and paternalistic," says Grimes,
explaining that doctors should not be able to withhold the pill just to get
women into the office.
But even Grimes and Hatcher reluctantly agree that it would be preferable
for women to get their initial prescription from a doctor, although both say
that this should not be a barrier to switching the pill from a prescription
drug to an over-the-counter drug.
There is no question that the pill should be available for emergency
contraception, says Larry Sasich, PharmD, MPH, a spokesman for the watchdog
group Public Citizen, which closely monitors FDA actions on behalf of
consumers. And although the group would not support the switch to over the
counter for a whole class of drugs, it would support the switch of individual
products if the data merited it, he says.
- The FDA has scheduled a meeting in late June to discuss whether birth
control pills, among other medications, should be available over the
- The pill has several health benefits, but its risks have not yet fully been
- Over-the-counter status also would make the pill available for emergency