Changing Oral Contraceptives from Prescription to Over-the-Counter Status: An Opinion Statement of the Women's Health Practice and Research Network of the American College of Clinical Pharmacy
Article first published online: 6 JAN 2012
2011 Pharmacotherapy Publications Inc.
Pharmacotherapy: The Journal of Human Pharmacology and Drug Therapy
Volume 31, Issue 4, pages 424–437, April 2011
How to Cite
McIntosh, J., Rafie, S., Wasik, M., McBane, S., Lodise, N. M., El-Ibiary, S. Y., Forinash, A., Kachlic, M. D., Rowe, E. and Besinque, K. (2011), Changing Oral Contraceptives from Prescription to Over-the-Counter Status: An Opinion Statement of the Women's Health Practice and Research Network of the American College of Clinical Pharmacy. Pharmacotherapy, 31: 424–437. doi: 10.1592/phco.31.4.424
- Issue published online: 6 JAN 2012
- Article first published online: 6 JAN 2012
- oral contraceptives;
- nonprescription drugs;
- over-the-counter status;
- delivery of health care;
- community pharmacy;
- collaborative drug therapy
Addressing the issue of unintended pregnancy is a national priority. One proposed strategy to reduce unintended pregnancy is to improve access to oral contraceptives by changing them to over-the-counter (OTC) status. Existing data indicate that oral contraceptives meet safety criteria required of OTC products. Available literature demonstrates that women can self-screen for contraindications to oral contraceptives and can do this as well as clinicians, and experience with OTC emergency contraception suggests that OTC oral contraceptives would not increase sexual risk-taking behavior. Women support OTC access to oral contraceptives, but express an interest in accessing pharmacist counseling. On the basis of these data, the Women's Health Practice and Research Network of the American College of Clinical Pharmacy supports changing oral contraceptives to OTC status under two conditions: that they are sold where a pharmacist is on duty and that there are mechanisms in place to cover OTC contraceptives through Medicaid. Future research should address the issues of out-of-pocket costs to individuals, label-comprehension studies, and models for pharmacist reimbursement for time spent counseling on contraception.