Sun. May 19th, 2024

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A group of Democratic senators on Friday urged the manufacturer of the first over-the-counter birth control pill available in the U.S. to set an affordable retail price and begin “broad distribution” as soon as possible.

Opill, which is made by the Dublin-based Perrigo, was approved for sale without a prescription by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) earlier this month, becoming the first of its kind in the U.S.

“We appreciate Perrigo’s leadership in this historic moment to make safe and effective oral contraception available to people of all ages without a prescription,” the lawmakers said in a letter to Perrigo’s CEO on Friday.

“However, to realize equitable access to birth control, Opill must be affordable,” they added. “With this in mind, we urge you to release an affordable retail price for Opill and to begin broad distribution of the product as soon as possible.”

The lawmakers pointed to a KFF survey from last November that found that nearly 85 percent of women would not be willing and able to pay more than $20 a month for over-the-counter birth control. 

While the Affordable Care Act requires insurers to cover preventive services like prescription birth control, they don’t typically cover over-the-counter products.

“When contraception is not affordable, some people—primarily uninsured individuals—end up forgoing contraceptives altogether,” the Democratic senators said in Friday’s letter. “Therefore, it is critical that the out-of-pocket price for Opill for individuals without health insurance is affordable, and that individuals who are insured have Opill fully covered under their health insurance.”

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