‘Over the counter’ birth control pills might save public money

By Kathryn Doyle (Reuters Health) – Providing no- or low-cost birth control pills over the counter may reduce costs and prevent up to a quarter of unplanned pregnancies, researchers say. Many women would likely start using oral contraceptives if they were available with little or no up-front cost over the counter instead of with a prescription, they suggest in the journal Contraception. “Making pills available without a prescription would remove the need for unnecessary, time-consuming and sometimes expensive visits to doctors’ offices and clinics,” wrote Diana Foster, the study’s lead author from the University of California, San Francisco, in an email to Reuters Health. The researchers used computer models to analyze several studies and databases to predict how unintended pregnancy rates might change if birth control pills were available without a prescription and with little or no cost.
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