CHICAGO – The American Medical Association (AMA) supports removing the prescription access barrier to contraception and policy adopted today by the nation’s physicians and medical students gathered at the AMA Annual Meeting encourages the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to approve over-the-counter (OTC) access to oral contraceptives without an age restriction.

“Providing patients with OTC access to the birth control pill is an easy call from a public health perspective as the health risks of pregnancy vastly outweigh those of oral contraceptive use,” said AMA Board Member David H. Aizuss, M.D. “Access is one of the most cited reasons why patients do not use oral contraceptives, use them inconsistently, or discontinue use. Expanding OTC access would make it easier for patients to properly use oral contraceptives, leading to fewer unplanned pregnancies.”

A regulatory pathway exists at the FDA for converting oral contraceptives from prescription products to OTC products and a required manufacturer application for a switch is expected to be submitted before the end of 2022. 

The AMA will work with expert stakeholders to advocate for the availability of hormonal contraception as an OTC medication and continue to study issue relevant to OTC access including full insurance coverage without cost sharing of an OTC oral contraceptive.

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About the American Medical Association

The American Medical Association is the physicians’ powerful ally in patient care. As the only medical association that convenes 190+ state and specialty medical societies and other critical stakeholders, the AMA represents physicians with a unified voice to all key players in health care.  The AMA leverages its strength by removing the obstacles that interfere with patient care, leading the charge to prevent chronic disease and confront public health crises and, driving the future of medicine to tackle the biggest challenges in health care.