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FDA panel backs first over-the-counter birth control pill in US

The first non-prescription birth control pill in the US is on the way to approval, after a thumbs-up from an advisory committee of drug regulators.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) panel's unanimous vote is not binding, but means the agency is likely to formally approve the drug this summer.

Opill has been available, but only by prescription, for the past 50 years.

The push for over-the-counter access in the US comes amid Republican-led efforts to restrict access to abortion and contraception at the national and state level.

Advisors on the panel said they were mostly confident women of all ages would use the drug as appropriate without first consulting a healthcare provider.

"In the balance between benefit and risk, we'd have a hard time justifying not taking this action," said chairwoman Maria Coyle, an Ohio State University pharmacist.

"The drug is incredibly effective, and I think it will be effective in the over-the-counter realm just as it is in the prescription realm."

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Source: BBC News, 10 May 2023


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