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  • 1440 Daily Digest

Over-the-Counter Birth Control

US health regulators approved yesterday the first birth control medication available over the counter without a prescription in the US. The contraceptive, dubbed Opill, is expected to hit the market in stores and online sometime early next year.

Advocates for the decision say it will expand access to one of the most effective forms of birth control. While oral contraceptives are 99% effective at preventing pregnancy when taken as instructed (93% under real-world usage), only around 12% of US women aged 15 to 49 use them (see data).

Produced by the French manufacturer HRA Pharma, Opill is a progestin-only contraceptive. The single hormone formulation carries a lower risk of blood clots than most oral contraceptives available in the US, which combine progestin and estrogen—as many as nine women in every 10,000 taking the mixed hormone pills experience blood clotting each year.

Reports suggest no age restrictions will be placed on sales of the pill.

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