Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Liberating the pill

From the Montreal Gazette:
t's not addictive, it's easy to take and 50 years of use shows it's safe.

So why do women still need a prescription for the birth-control pill?

A move to make oral contraceptives available over the counter is gaining momentum in the United States - and any regulatory changes there would have significant ramifications for Canada.

Proponents for taking the pill off prescription-only status say the benefits outweigh the risks, the potential for misuse is minimal and easier access could help lower rates of unintended pregnancies and abortions.

But the prospect of women gaining unfettered access to the pill has some doctors and sexual health counsellors uneasy. Would women still see their doctor for Pap smears? Could they safely screen themselves for contraindications - conditions under which the pill should not be used? Would it unleash a marketing bonanza for drug-makers and a huge increase in users?

Nevertheless, a Canadian leader in reproductive medicine and editor of the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Canada says it seems wrong and paternalistic that, half a century after the pill's debut in the U.S. and 41 years after coming to Canada, women still cannot get access to the most effective, self-administered birth control on the market without a doctor's blessing. ...more

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