Over-the-counter birth control pill now available at major pharmacies

Opill is available at Walgreens and CVS for $19.99 for a one-month supply and $49.99 for a three-month supply.
This undated photo provided by Perrigo Company shows boxes of Opill.
Posted at 12:19 PM, Mar 29, 2024

CVS, Walgreens and other major pharmacy chains are beginning to stock Opill, an over-the-counter birth control pill that got Food and Drug Administration approval for nonprescription use last summer. The pharmacies started carrying the drug after drugmaker Perrigo said it has started shipping Opill earlier this month. 

The company said the manufacturer's suggested retail price will be $19.99 for a one-month supply and $49.99 for a three-month supply. The company also said the pill would be available online — a three-month supply going for $49.99 and a six-month supply for $89.99.

CVS and Walgreens appear to be selling the products at the MSRP, according to website product listings. 

Opill was first approved in 1973 to prevent pregnancies but was taken off the market in 2005 due to business reasons.  

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The FDA said Opill is up to 98% effective when used as directed. The FDA also said using additional forms of birth control, including condoms, helps make the drug more effective. 

The agency said that real-world use, however, means the drug generally has lower effective rates as tablets aren't always taken when directed. 

The FDA said side effects, such as irregular vaginal bleeding, nausea, breast tenderness and headaches, are generally mild and resolve on their own. 

People who have or had breast cancer, are pregnant, using other forms of birth control, using emergency contraceptives or are male should not use Opill, the FDA said. 

The drug's maker said that some flexible spending or health savings accounts will reimburse costs for Opill.

Also, some states, including California, Connecticut, Illinois, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York and Washington, have laws requiring insurers to cover over-the-counter birth control.