Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Physicians: Birth control should be sold without a prescription

(CNN) -- In the future, women may be able to buy birth control pills alongside ibuprofen and cough drops if the recommendation of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists is adopted.

The group is recommending that oral contraceptives be sold over the counter without a prescription in an effort to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies in the United States.

Approximately 50% of all pregnancies are unplanned, a rate that hasn't changed much in the past 20 years, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a nonprofit organization dedicated to reproductive health research. Women in their 20s are most at risk.

"Access and cost issues are common reasons why women either do not use contraception use or have gaps in use," according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Many developed countries still require a prescription for oral contraceptives, including Canada and most of Europe, but many other countries sell the pill without a prescription even formally or informally.

The movement to push birth control over the counter is nothing new, says Dr. Daniel Grossman, who volunteers as vice chairman for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists' Committee on Gynecologic Practice Bulletins.

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