OTC Birth Control Is Coming Soon — But Coverage Could Be Tricky

This summer, Opill (norgestrel) became the first over-the-counter (OTC) daily contraceptive pill approved by the FDA, and it’s slated to hit the U.S. market in early 2024. However, Opill’s OTC designation — which on the surface would seem to increase access to birth control — may have the opposite effect for patients seeking reimbursement from their health plans, experts said during a recent KFF web event.

“Having over-the-counter contraceptives is definitely a positive step,” said Christine Gilroy, M.D., chief medical officer of The Cigna Group’s PBM, Express Scripts. “I am concerned, though, that while it removes the barrier of needing to pay for a physician visit and get a prescription from the physician…in order to be processed against a pharmacy benefit, it does need to be entered into a system that essentially turns it into a prescription.”

© 2024 MMIT
Leslie Small

Leslie Small

Leslie has been reporting and editing in various journalism roles for nearly a decade. Most recently, she was the senior editor of FierceHealthPayer, an e-newsletter covering the health insurance industry. A graduate of Penn State University, she previously served in editing roles at newspapers in Pennsylvania, Virginia and Colorado.

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