September 2009, New York, NY: Research, communications, and building new partnerships

In September 2009, the working group held a two-day meeting at the Guttmacher Institute offices in New York. More than 40 people attended, including many who had never participated in the working group before. There were several new advocacy and reproductive justice groups represented, and five pharmaceutical representatives. The meeting focused on the following topical areas: the history of the OCs OTC working group and an update on activities, a review of the regulatory issues related to an OTC switch for OCs, preliminary findings from the stakeholder analysis, an update on recent research findings related to OCs OTC, a review of the economic issues related to an OTC switch for OCs, and pharmacist perspectives on alternative provision models of OCs. The meeting allowed for a great deal of discussion time, including two separate sessions for the communications and research subcommittees.

Among the important outcomes of this meeting were bringing new partners into the working group, especially among women’s health and reproductive justice advocates; a discussion of the working group’s aims that eventually led to a revision of the group’s statement of purpose to incorporate the working group’s commitment to addressing reproductive health disparities; a decision to focus on a POP as the first candidate for an OTC switch; and a decision to focus on the development of materials for a formal meeting with the FDA, including a draft OTC label and protocols for the actual use and label comprehension studies.

The Oral Contraceptives Over-the-Counter Working Group is now the Free the Pill coalition!

We are excited to expand our work under the Free the Pill umbrella and continue to leverage the expertise of coalition members to improve and expand equitable contraceptive access. Please visit the Free the Pill website to learn more about the coalition and how organizations and professionals can get involved.

As part of this change, the OCs OTC website has been archived and is being kept available as a historical resource to highlight the work that members of the OCs OTC Working Group have been engaged in since 2004 to build the evidence in support of OTC birth control pills in the United States. If you have any questions about the Free the Pill coalition and our work, please reach out.