First Nonprescription Birth Control Pill Ships to Retailers

2 min read

March 4, 2024 -- The first birth control pill authorized to be sold without a doctor’s prescription will soon be available to the public, according to the company that makes the drug. 

The birth control pill, called Opill, has shipped to retailers and will be available on store shelves and online in coming weeks and for pre-order from select retailers beginning this week, Perrigo, the drugmaker, said in a news release

The drug will be sold over the counter with a manufacturer's suggested retail price of $19.99 for a 1-month supply and $49.99 for a 3-month supply. Opill will also be available at at $89.99 for a 6-month supply.

Walgreens and CVS have said they will sell Opill, CNN reported. Consumers will find the pill in the family planning section at most retailers once it reaches the stores. 

Opill had previously been available with a doctor’s prescription, but the federal government approved the nonprescription version last summer. Opill, sometimes called “the minipill,” is a progestin-only daily birth control pill, as compared to a combination pill containing estrogen and progestin.

By eliminating the need for time-consuming doctor’s appointments, Opill should make contraception more widely available.

“The availability of an oral contraceptive without a prescription is a truly groundbreaking milestone in reproductive health,” Melissa J. Kottke, MD, MPH, an obstetrician-gynecologist in Atlanta, said in the news release. “Progestin-only pills have been a trusted contraceptive option for decades, yet obtaining a prescription for birth control pills creates unnecessary barriers for many. Creating additional opportunities for contraceptive access is critical in helping people reach their reproductive goals.”

Perrigo said that Opill may be eligible to be paid or reimbursed through Flexible Spending Accounts or Health Savings Accounts. And a  program will be set up to help qualified low-income and uninsured individuals obtain Opill at low or no cost, according to the drugmaker. 

"Contraception is a key component of reproductive health care, and the availability of an OTC hormonal option will alleviate some barriers to access that prevent people from being able to begin or continue oral hormonal contraception,” Verda J. Hicks, MD, president of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, said in a statement

“This is especially important as there are increasing health care deserts across our country where people do not have access to gynecologic care. OTC birth control will also help to reduce confidentiality concerns for people, making it possible to take control of their reproductive health without risking their privacy.”