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Major Retailers to Offer OTC Birth Control Pill

Walgreens, CVS, Rite Aid among retailers to provide 1st-ever daily pill available without prescription in U.S.
Marian Zboraj, Progressive Grocer
Consumers will have the opportunity to purchase Opill in a variety of sizes in stores to best meet their needs, including one-month and three-month packs.

Perrigo Company plc, a provider of consumer self-care products, has revealed that Opill has shipped to major retailers and pharmacies and will be available on shelves nationwide and online later this month. Approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for over-the-counter (OTC) use for all ages in July 2023, Opill is the first-ever daily birth control pill available without a prescription in the United States.

Opill is now available for pre-order from select online retailers. In the coming weeks, it is expected to be on store shelves at major retailers, like Walgreens. Progressive Grocer received the following comment from a Walgreens corporate spokesperson: "Following the FDA’s approval and once commercially available, Walgreens will offer the over-the-counter birth control Opill as your local communities’ convenient health and wellness destination." 

CVS also confirmed with Progressive Grocer that Opill will be available at and through the CVS Pharmacy app in late March. In early April more than 7,500 CVS Pharmacy stores will offer Opill and for added privacy and convenience, customers will be able to choose same-day delivery or buy online and pick-up in store.

Additionally, Rite Aid has verified that Opill will be available in all of its stores the first week of April. 

Consumers will have the opportunity to purchase Opill in a variety of sizes in stores to best meet their needs, including one-month and three-month packs, with manufacturer's suggested retail prices (MSRPs) of $19.99 and $49.99, respectively. 

"At Perrigo, we've been working to make lives better through trusted health-and-wellness solutions that are accessible to all for more than 130 years, and that purpose is especially important when we think about reproductive health," said Triona Schmelter, Perrigo EVP and president, consumer self-care Americas. "We champion the right of women and people to determine their own sexual health journey, and the availability of Opill over the counter is truly a historic moment of which our entire organization can be proud."

"The availability of an oral contraceptive without a prescription is a truly groundbreaking milestone in reproductive health," added Melissa J. Kottke, MD, MPH, MBA, an obstetrician-gynecologist in Atlanta. "Progestin-only pills have been a trusted contraceptive option for decades, yet obtaining a prescription for birth control pills creates unnecessary barriers for many. Creating additional opportunities for contraceptive access is critical in helping people reach their reproductive goals."

When taken as directed, Opill is reportedly 98% effective. Almost half (45%) of the 6.1 million pregnancies in the United States each year are unintended, and for many, there are obstacles to accessing more effective birth control options until now only available by prescription — including the ability to schedule a provider visit, transportation and cost issues, or lack of insurance. Opill aims to benefit a broad reproductive age population who want a convenient, accessible, safe and effective option to avoid pregnancy. 

To further maximize the impact and accessibility of Opill, Perrigo said that a cost-assistance program will roll out in the coming weeks to help qualified low-income, uninsured individuals obtain the medication at low or no cost.

Opill may also be eligible to be paid or reimbursed through flexible-spending or health savings accounts (also known as FSAs/HSAs). OTC drugs are now generally reimbursable under HSA and FSA plans, subject to the specific details and limitations of individual employers' plans.

Perrigo is a provider of health-and-wellness solutions that enhance that empower consumers to proactively prevent or treat conditions that can be self-managed. Its fiscal year 2023 net sales were $4.7 billion, an increase of 4.6% versus the prior year. Organic net sales increased 1.7%. Perrigo is based in Dublin, Ireland, with U.S. offices in Grand Rapids, Mich.

Deerfield, Ill.-based Walgreens, which operates nearly 9,000 retail locations across the United States, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, is No. 5 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2023 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America. With its CVS Pharmacy subsidiary operating approximately 9,000 locations nationwide, Woonsocket, R.I.-based CVS Health is No. 7 on The PG 100. Employing nearly 6,000 pharmacists, Philadelphia-based Rite Aid operates more than 1,700 retail pharmacy locations across 16 states and is No. 22 on PG’s list. 

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