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The Pill–Over the Counter

By Dr Sharon Thompson on January 6, 2016 in Uncategorized
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This is definitely something good.
For those of you who worry:
*birth control pills have fewer serious side effects for fewer women than many medicines currently available off the shelf
*accessible, reliable birth control reduces unintended pregnancy
*accessible, reliable birth control does not increase the percentage of teens having sex
*the Oregon law got it right in requiring health coverage of cost to continue
*women are reminded that access to birth control is not health care and they should to continue to see their health care providers regularly

Does this create new issues in health care? Absolutely. It adds further complexity to an already fragmented health care system. I worry that this may make some at the FDA think they don’t need to make birth control pills over the counter for the entire country. I worry about women who have or develop high blood pressure or other serious side effects on the pill. Will they know? Will they go see their doctors?

The truth is though, compared the the benefits, these concerns are small indeed. We need a serious, people-focused,(as opposed to money focused) non-political, national conversation about out health care system access, cost and quality. This law does not change that. As to my concern about side effects, in reality these major side effects are rare and women have been excellent patients in the past. For decades most women showed up annually for pap smears and mammograms yearly–both of which most women complain are uncomfortable and embarrassing. I have a faith based on this history that women will continue to seek the care they need.

One day, every citizen in our country will have easily accessible, low cost health care. For today thank you Oregon and California for pushing us one step closer.

Dr Sharon Thompson

About the Author

Dr Sharon ThompsonView all posts by Dr Sharon Thompson
Dr. Thompson received her undergraduate degree in Biology from Vassar College and a Masters in Public Health from the University of California at Berkeley. She went on to medical training at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City and completed her postgraduate training in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Harvard affiliated integrated Brigham and Women's and Massachusetts General Hospital residency program.

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