A pharmaceutical company has requested permission to sell birth control pills over the counter for the first time in US history.
The announcement comes just after the Supreme Court invalidated the right to an abortion under the Constitution.
The company, HRA Pharma, based in Paris, claims that its application to the Food and Drug Administration is unrelated.
The most popular method of birth control in the US, the pill, has long required a prescription.
According to studies, more than half of the 6.1 million pregnancies that occur in the US annually are unplanned. Although the US originally approved the use of birth control tablets more than 60 years ago, around one-third of US women who have attempted to get or fill prescriptions have encountered difficulty.
Over 100 nations worldwide offer oral contraceptives without a prescription, making the US one of the few that does. The American Medical Association and the American Academy of Family Physicians are just two of the main US medical organizations that have urged the government to follow suit.
The company’s proposal, according to Frédérique Welgryn, Chief Strategic Operations and Innovation Officer at HRA Pharma, was a “ground-breaking event” for reproductive equity in the US. The application, according to the business, comes after years of study aimed at bolstering its argument to US regulators.
More women and people will have access to contraception without needless obstacles if a safe and effective birth control pill is made available over the counter.
The FDA’s decision is anticipated, according to the business, for next year. Only the company’s Opill medicine, which it bought from Pfizer in 2014, would be subject to approval. Since 1973, patients have been able to take the tablet if it is prescribed.
The FDA has been contacted by the BBC for comment.
The FDA is being urged to consider similar requests like HRA’s by Democratic lawmakers and pro-choice advocates as the US’s reproductive rights are the subject of a heated public discussion.
For instance, in an open letter to the administration published in March, 50 members of the House of Representatives’ Pro-Choice Caucus urged the administration to “evaluate applications for over-the-counter birth control pills without delay and purely on the data.”
The firm’s application, according to Ms. Welgryn, was unrelated and “a pretty terrible coincidence,” she told the New York Times. She asserted that “birth control is not a solution for abortion access.”
Leading US shops have reported restricting birth control pills due to high demand since the Supreme Court’s decision on abortion.
Additionally, on Monday, the administration of US President Joe Biden declared that medical facilities must provide abortion services if the mother’s life is in danger.
According to the administration, state laws that once prohibited the practice were superseded by federal legislation on emergency treatment requirements.
According to the Department of Health and Human Services, doctors are required to perform abortions when they think a “pregnant patient” is suffering from a medical emergency and the procedure would be a “stabilizing treatment.”
Emergencies were listed as “ectopic pregnancy, pregnancy loss problems, or emergent hypertensive illnesses, like severe preeclampsia.”