Statement on HRA Pharma’s Application for OTC Status for Birth Control

Advocates for Youth welcomes the news that HRA Pharma has filed the first-ever application for an over-the-counter birth control pill. As part of the Free the Pill Coalition, Advocates convened the #FreethePill Youth Council, a network of young people nationwide working to make birth control available over the counter, covered by insurance with no age restriction. Young people are excited at this first step and ready to keep up the pressure on the FDA and the Biden Administration to follow the science and grant OTC status to birth control pills. 

“Now more than ever, young people need birth control that’s accessible, affordable, and over-the-counter,” said Angela Maske, Strategic Projects Manager and coordinator of the #FreethePill Youth Council. “We need tools to help us plan our lives and our futures. And we need policies that move us forward, not backward.”

Birth control pills prevent countless unplanned pregnancies a year, but only if you have the means, insurance, and time to get a prescription at the doctor first. For young people, especially low-income, BIPOC youth, and other marginalized youth, the obstacles to gaining and filling a prescription for birth control can be insurmountable. 

Members of the FreethePill Youth Council welcome news of the filing:

“In the midst of everything else going on it is so exciting and hopeful to see that the first application for an over-the-counter birth control pill has been submitted to the FDA. It is now more important than ever to have safe and affordable access to birth control for people of all ages, and making it over-the-counter will eliminate so many barriers to access. We will not stop until birth control is over-the-counter and accessible for all people regardless of age, race, gender, class, or sexuality!” – Lauren Schenck, age 20

“As a young person, I’ve experienced first-hand the stress and pain caused by poor access to birth control. Often, as a young person, your healthcare is up to your provider *and* your guardian. By making birth control over the counter, there will be no more undue stress or prejudice involved in getting basic healthcare.” – Bex Heimbrock, age 19

Young people shouldn’t have to jump through unnecessary hoops to gain access to the contraceptive care they need. Like condoms and emergency contraception — the pill should be available over-the-counter as it is in over 100 countries around the world. HRA Pharma’s application to the FDA to switch Opill, a progestin-only, daily birth control pill from prescription to over-the-counter status is an important milestone. We look forward to the FDA following the science as they review the application.

Join Advocates for Youth in helping make OTC birth control a reality.