<html> <head><style type ="text/css">body { font-family: "Bloomberg Prop Unicode I", Verdana, sans-serif; font-size:125%; letter-spacing: -0.3pt; color: #FF9F0F; background-color: #000000; text-align: left; } p {line-height: 1.25em; max-width:900px; width:expression(document.body.clientWidth > 900? "900px": "auto" );} h1, h2, h3 { text-align: left; font-weight: normal; color: #FFFFFF; } h1 { font-size: 130%; } h2 { font-size: 115%; } h3 { font-size: 100%; } #bb-style { font-size: 90%; max-width:900px; width:expression(document.body.clientWidth > 900? "900px": "auto" ); } b, strong { font-weight: bold; } i, em { color: #FEC54A; } pre { font-family: "Andale Mono", "Monaco", "Lucida Console"; letter-spacing: -0.3pt; line-height: 1.25em; } table { border: 0; font-size: 90%; width: 100%; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; } td, tr { text-align: left; } td.numeric { text-align: right; } a:link { color:#53B2F5; text-decoration: none; } a:visited {color:#53B2F5} a:active {color:#53B2F5} a:hover {color:#53B2F5} </style> </head> <body> <p>By Virginia Postrel</p> <p>Should you be able to buy the pill over the counter? The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ Committee on Gynecologic Practice now thinks so, <a href="http://www.acog.org/Resources_And_Publications/Committee_Opinions/Committee_on_Gynecologic_Practice/Over-the-Counter_Access_to_Oral_Contraceptives">issuing a recommendation</a> that oral contraceptives be made available without a prescription.</p> <p>This anti-paternalist reform has sound medical evidence behind it, as I discussed <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-03-09/take-birth-control-battle-over-the-counter-commentary-by-virginia-postrel.html">in a column in March</a>. It also offers a policy that both sides in the vicious culture war over women’s access to contraception can agree on. Promoted mostly by advocates of reproductive freedom, the change has also been <a href="http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/293565/sandra-sideshow-ramesh-ponnuru?pg=2">endorsed by anti-abortion conservatives</a>, such as my Bloomberg View colleague Ramesh Ponnuru.</p> <p>This doesn't mean, however, that things will be changing at Rite-Aid anytime soon. Getting the Food and Drug Administration to OK over-the-counter sales of a pill already approved for prescription sales would take $10 million for studies. Then a pharmaceutical company would have huge marketing costs to establish a new brand. Who might embrace the opportunity? One possibility is Johnson &amp; Johnson’s McNeil Consumer Healthcare division, whose formerly prescription-only products include Nicorette, Motrin and Pepcid. Another is Church &amp; Dwight, whose <a href="http://www.churchdwight.com/brands-and-products/brand-browser.aspx">products</a> include Trojan condoms and First Response pregnancy tests.</p> <p>Regardless of who takes on the challenge, selling the pill alongside condoms and pregnancy tests makes a lot of sense.</p> <p>(Virginia Postrel is a Bloomberg View columnist. <a href="http://twitter.com/vpostrel">Follow</a> her on Twitter.)</p> </body> </html>