Opill, first over-the-counter birth control pill, will go on sale later this month

Kendall Warner/The Virginian-Pilot/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

(WASHINGTON) — Opill, the first over-the-counter birth control pill that can be purchased without a prescription, will be available later this month online and in pharmacies for $19.99 a month, $49.99 for a three-month supply or $89.99 for a six-month supply, its parent company, Perrigo, said Monday.

Opill has been heralded as a potential game-changer for access to birth control because it eliminates the step of finding a doctor to write a prescription, which can be costly or burdensome depending on where women live and what health insurance coverage they have.

The drug has already been on the market for 50 years as prescription birth control and was determined safe and effective for over-the-counter use by the Food and Drug Administration in July.

It’s is expected to be available at major retailers like CVS and Walgreens nationwide in the coming weeks, as well as available for order directly through Opill’s website. Preorder from select retailers begins this week.

The cost of Opill, however, will play a major role in its accessibility.

Most insurance plans have to cover prescription birth control under the Affordable Care Act, but the laws differ state by state for birth control without a prescription — which is uncharted territory.

Those without insurance or who don’t want to use their insurance for privacy reasons will have to pay the $15-20 cost out of pocket per month, depending on which monthly supply plan they purchase.

Around 39% of women would be willing to pay $1-10 for birth control, but that number drops slightly to 34% for those who would be willing to pay $11-20 per month, according to a November 2022 survey from KFF.

Some 1 in 10 women — 11% — said they were unwilling or unable to pay anything for OTC birth control pills.

Opill said it will have a cost-assistance program available in the coming weeks to help “qualified low-income, uninsured individuals obtain Opill at low or no cost.”

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

Copyright © 2024, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.