Hawai'i State News

Hirono, colleagues urge Opill manufacturer to release affordable retail price and broad distribution strategy

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Pills. Photo Courtesy: Pexels

U.S. senators Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI), Patty Murray (D-WA), and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) led seven of their Senate colleagues in urging Perrigo, the manufacturer of Opill, to follow through on its commitment to make the contraceptive “affordable and accessible” by releasing a low and affordable retail price and beginning broad distribution of the product as soon as possible.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Opill—a daily hormonal contraceptive pill—for over-the-counter sale without a prescription, making it the first over-the-counter birth control pill available without a prescription in the United States.

“The FDA’s evidence-based approval of Opill for over-the-counter use removed an unnecessary barrier to accessing basic health care and is a critical step forward in the fight for equitable reproductive health care,” wrote the lawmakers. “Contraception is a key component of reproductive health and enables people to control their futures by deciding if, when, and how to become pregnant.”


In the letter, the lawmakers emphasized equitable access to contraception and highlighted the barriers—such as prohibitive costs, lack of insurance coverage, difficulty accessing transportation, and more—that people face in obtaining and refilling prescriptions for birth control.

Recent polling showed that of those interested in using over-the-counter birth control, nearly 85% would be unwilling or unable to pay more than $20 per month for it. They also underlined how these barriers disproportionately impact marginalized communities, including people of color, LGBTQ+ individuals, immigrants, people with disabilities, and people living in rural communities.

“The FDA’s decision to make Opill available without a prescription has the potential to transform contraceptive access nationwide, especially for the 19 million women living in contraceptive deserts and the 4.9 million women who are uninsured,” continued the lawmakers. “When it comes on the market, Opill will be the most effective contraceptive product available over-the-counter and will be a major step forward for contraceptive access by eliminating many of the obstacles inherent in obtaining contraception via prescription.”


Specifically, the letter requests that Perrigo answer the following questions:

  • Will Perrigo sell Opill at a low and affordable cost? What criteria will be used to determine Opill’s price?
  • Where, specifically, does Perrigo plan to sell Opill? What factors will Perrigo consider in building those retail relationships, and with whom will Perrigo consult to ensure its products will reach underserved populations?
  • Who will be eligible for the “consumer assistance programs” and for how long can participants expect financial support? What discounts or rebates will Perrigo offer, particularly for individuals without insurance or limited income?
  • How will Perrigo make its product accessible to individuals who may want their purchase to be confidential?

In addition to senators Hirono, Murray, and Cortez Masto, the letter was also signed by senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Tina Smith (D-MN), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Peter Welch (D-VT), and Jeff Merkley (D-OR).

The letter is also endorsed by Contraceptive Access Initiative; Planned Parenthood Federation of America; National Partnership for Women and Families; NARAL Pro-Choice America; National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association; and Power to Decide.

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