Progress on OTC Contraceptives
By David Henderson
In February 2012, I posted a proposal that the federal government allow contraceptives to be sold over the counter. I wrote:
Nevertheless, there is a way that the federal government now cuts access to contraceptives in a way that substantially raises the cost. Were the government to get rid of the regulation that does this, women’s access to contraceptives would rise and the cost would fall.
What is the regulation? It’s the one that requires contraceptive pills to be prescription drugs. If, instead, drug companies were allowed to sell contraceptives over the counter, access would rise and cost would fall.
In December 2012, I posted about other commentators who agreed with my proposal.
Recently, polling data showed that a supermajority of Americans now agree with this proposal. Emily Elkins writes:
The latest Reason-Rupe poll finds 70 percent of Americans favor legalizing over-the-counter birth control pills and patches without a doctor’s prescription, 26 percent oppose such a proposal, and 4 percent don’t know enough to say. There has been a slight uptick in support for OTC birth control, rising from 66 percent in May of 2013. Moreover, Reason-Rupe finds that women across income groups highly support legalizing OTC birth control at about the same rates.
I asked back in December 2012:
Could this be a case such as the ones Wayne A. Leighton and Edward J. Lopez talk about in their new book, Madmen, Intellectuals, and Academic Scribblers, in which the moment is ripe for change?
I think it is.