I think there really needs to be some reforms made on the issue of OCs. While OTC would be nice for me, and for other people who have been on the same OC for a long time, have no ill effects and are well aware of the risks, it's just not too practical for people who are just starting OCs, who are not aware of the risks, and who probably shouldn't be taking OCs, such as people who smoke and are over 35, etc. What I would like to see is some sort of long standing "prescription" card for people like myself who have been consistently taking OTCs and have no issues with them. I say prescription in quotes because it would not really be an Rx, but a sort of certification, signed by a doctor, showing that people have been taking the OC for awhile, are cleared medically, and are aware of the risks. People could then present this certification/ "prescription" to any pharmacist and get their OC with no problems: no insurance issues, etc and they could ask the pharmacists questions or discuss any problems. Virtually OTC. Of course, this would only be really great if the OCs were low cost. I wouldn't want to pay the $45 a pack they cost without insurance just to have this convenience, but this would be great with low cost Rxs. Just an idea.
I also think it's totally ridiculous to expect women to submit to a pap just to get OCs, especially if they have never been sexually active. I understand the public health perspective on this in screening for HPV/ cervical cancer, but I feel it is somewhat oppresive to women. You don't make men submit to prostate exams before they can buy condoms!
And I thought I'd throw this quote into the mix too. Not that I entirely agree, but I think it raises a good point:
"I've often felt that on public health grounds, oral contraceptives should be available over the counter and cigarettes by prescription only"
David Grimes, MD