The FDA is considering over-the-counter birth control pills
Birth control pills were approved over 60 years ago. In November, the FDA will be considering an application to sell over-the-counter birth control at pharmacies for the first time.
The two candidates being considered are made by:
- HRA Pharma — a subsidiary of pharmaceutical manufacturer Perrigo Company (NYSE:PRGO).
- Cadence Health — a startup focused on providing over-the-counter birth control.
HRA exec Frédérique Welgryn said the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade — made contraceptive access “more important than ever.”
The U.S. and Canada are among the few countries that require a prescription for birth control. A study showed that 29% of those who tried to get a prescription had difficulty getting one.
How big is the market? In 2017, the U.S. contraceptive market was worth an estimated $7.7B. Birth control pills made up ~52% of that.
Still, for pharma companies who are going after $20B+ blockbuster drugs, birth control is a tiny market. It’s one reason why there has been little innovation in the space.
The cost of contraceptives is also significantly lower than other treatments. HRA’s over-the-counter birth control pill costs £10 per month in the U.K. Compare that to cancer treatments which run into the hundreds of thousands per month.