FDA Sets New Hearing Date for Over-The-Counter Birth Control

Announcement Comes After Young People Placed Prop Birth Control Boxes on Shelves Across America and Posted on Social Media Demanding a New Date

Washington, D.C.— Advocates for Youth welcomes the news that the FDA has rescheduled an advisory committee meeting to review HRA Pharma’s application to switch Opill, a progestin-only, daily birth control pill from prescription to over-the-counter status. The new dates – on May 9th and 10th – coincide with the 63rd anniversary of approval of the daily birth control pill, celebrated by advocates as #FreeThePill Day.  

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 with no age restriction. Last month, they launched an online campaign calling on the FDA to reschedule the advisory committee hearing with posts such as this, this, and this

“Birth control is an urgent health care need now more than ever,” said Angela Maske, manager of the #FreethePill Youth Council.Our work with young people shows that they struggle to jump through the logistical hoops to get birth control today. For such a safe medication with decades of research behind it, there’s no excuse for limiting its access. Young people need birth control that’s accessible, affordable, and over-the-counter.”

“As a 17 year old in Texas, I am thrilled that FDA-approved, over-the-counter birth control pills could finally become an option In the United States,” said Maia Lopez, an organizer with Advocates for Youth. “Young people like me were recently banned from getting confidential access to birth control from health care providers in Texas, yet our peers in more than 100 other countries can walk into their local drug store and buy birth control pills over the counter. Using birth control is a responsible thing to do. We should make it easier, not harder, for young people to protect their health.  The prescription-only requirement is a relic of the past that puts up barriers for young people who want to do the right thing. Young people like me trust the FDA to do their job and follow the science. I look forward to watching the hearing in May.”

Last Fall, the FDA scheduled a date for the Advisory Committee hearing, only to postpone it shortly thereafter.  Ad that time, Lopez organized hundreds of her fellow students to submit comments to the FDA in support of over-the-counter access to oral contraception. “Birth control shouldn’t be something that’s only available to people who live in certain states or whose parents happen to be open to it,” Lopez continued. “It is essential healthcare that every single one of us should have access to, no matter our age, race, income, or life circumstance.”

Advocates for Youth recently launched the #FreeThePill Action Center, featuring videos, FAQs, and a joint letter to the FDA from young people that anyone ages 14-24 is encouraged to sign onto ahead of the advisory committee meeting. 

Contact: Emily Bridges, emily@advocatesforyouth.org