Gynecologist group: Contraceptives’ cost and access leads to high unintended-pregnancy rate
In a recently-published committee opinion, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists drew attention to the fact that nearly 50 percent of all pregnancies were unplanned, and said that the growing rates of unintended pregnancies reflects that inconsistent use of contraception by women was essentially a result of issues like cost of, and access to, contraceptives.
According to the committee opinion, published in the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology on Tuesday, allowing “over-the-counter access to oral contraceptives” was apparently a potential way for improving “contraceptive access and use” as well as reducing the rates of unintended pregnancy.
In addition, the committee opinion also rebuffed the issue of women giving their annual physical a miss; and pointed to studies which indicated that the required visits by women to their doctors - for screening and preventive services – will probably continue even if they are allowed to by birth control pills without an appointment with the doctor.
The committee opinion implicitly underscores the fact that the over-the-counter (OTC) availability of the contraceptive pill necessitates the approval of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Towards that end, FDA chief Dr. Margaret Hamburg had mentioned in a last-March statement that the FDA was working on a new drug designation – dubbed the OTC-plus – which will make it possible for some of the safe drugs, like statins, to be made available over the counter, for addressing common conditions that are under-treated, largely due to the reason that patients fail to get prescription renewals.
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