You may not be able to get that ear-worm jingle that goes “O O O Ozempic” out of your musical mind, but I’m happy to tell you there’s a new “O” in town: the Opill.
Welcome to the first OTC contraceptive for sale in the USA.
I wrote about Perrigo’s Opill here in Health Populi in May 2023 as a “signpost on the road to retail health.”
“The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Opill®, a progestin-only daily oral contraceptive, for over-the-counter (OTC) use for all ages. Opill® is the first ever birth control pill available over the counter in the United States,”
In May, the FDA convened a joint meeting of the Nonprescription Drugs Advisory Committee and the Obstetrics, Reproductive and Urologic Drugs Advisory Committee to review of the science and safety behind the Opill.
The Joint Committees voted unanimously 17 to 0 (no abstentions) that, “the benefits of making Opill®, a progestin-only daily oral contraceptive, available for over-the-counter (OTC) use outweighs the risks,” Perrigo’s May press release noted.
Health Populi’s Hot Points: Here is Perrigo’s mission statement, which speaks to,
- Self-care, and
What will resonate with patients-as-consumers in their embrace of retail health products and services are exactly these traits: quality, affordability, and trust….”everywhere,” being a convenience factor.
It’s also a factor that bolsters health equity and access.
This news is most welcome in light of growing access challenges for women’s health care in the U.S.
The timing of the OTC switch for a contraceptive is ironic in light of a divided U.S. House of Representatives vote of 221 to 213 to overturn a Pentagon policy that guaranteed abortion access to service members regardless of where they are stationed (including states where the procedure remains legally provided). [Sidebar on health politics these days: the healthcare access issues have been strategically embedded into a larger bill on Defense spending].
We’re in the midst of a “don’t blink” era when it comes to women’s health care access and equity. The launch of the Opill will be very welcome news for women and family health and well-being.
Perrigo’s statement on its mission for sexual health says it well: “this is a pivotal moment in the women’s sexual health movement, and while we’ve bene working towards sexual health equity, we are not doing this alone,” seeking collaborators to champion people to safely take control over their health.
“The world needs it. We all deserve it.”