You may be soon be able to get birth control over-the-counter.
According to Vox, French pharmaceutical company HRA Pharma teamed up with reproductive health research nonprofit Ibis Reproductive Health to begin looking into making birth control available over-the-counter in the United States. HRA Pharma told Vox that it hopes to submit an application to the Food and Drug Administration in the next few years.
“At HRA, we are proud of our pioneering work to expand access to contraception for millions of women,” the company said in a statement to Vox. “Oral contraceptives are some of the best-studied medicines on the market today and enjoy longstanding support from medical and public health experts.”
Over-the-counter birth control has the support of the medical community, with the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Family Physicians all agreeing that birth control should be available without a prescription. A number of U.S. politicians on both sides of the aisle also support the idea, even introducing two different versions of bills on the matter in 2015. And Oregon and California each enacted bills last year that allowed women in those states to get birth control directly from a pharmacy without needing a prescription from a doctor.
But of course, the current political climate could shatter the plan entirely. President-elect Donald Trump has already vowed to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which currently mandates insurers to provide birth control to women free-of-charge. Tom Price, Trump’s nominee for Health and Human Services Secretary, once said that he didn’t believe any women struggled to get birth control. The only glimmer of hope for supporters is that the FDA makes its decisions based on evidence rather than politics — and the scientific evidence largely supports the idea that this new access to the pill would be safe for women, as Vox notes.
“Unfortunately, it seems that no matter what you do around birth control in the US, there is going to be some kind of political backlash,” Krishna Upadhya, a member of the Oral Contraceptives Over-the-Counter Working Group, told Vox.