Gardner, Ernst Introduce Bill to Expand Access to Safe, Effective Contraception

Washington, DC – Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Joni Ernst (R-IA) re-introduced the Allowing Greater Access to Safe and Effective Contraception Act, paving the way for contraceptives to be sold over-the-counter without a prescription. 

The Allowing Greater Access to Safe and Effective Contraception Act incentivizes manufacturers of routine-use contraceptives to file an application with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to sell their products over the counter (OTC). These incentives apply to any contraceptive the FDA deems to be safe and effective for routine OTC use and available to adults over the age of 18. Additionally, the legislation ensures OTC contraceptives would not be unfairly taxed. 

“It’s important that Congress adopt a modern and commonsense approach to contraception,” said Senator Gardner. “Selling safe and effective oral contraceptives over-the-counter to adults will inevitably drive down costs and afford women the convenience to access their medication on their time. Our legislation recognizes the need to make contraceptives affordable and accessible, and it’s time that Congress put politics aside to allow women the ability to make their own decisions about safe, effective, and long-established methods of contraception.” 

“Expanding health care choices for Iowa women in a responsible way is deeply important to me,” said Senator Ernst. “By allowing women to purchase birth control over-the-counter and without the requirement of a prescription, we are giving them more options, with fewer delays and without unnecessary hurdles. It’s critical we remove barriers for women in Iowa and across the country to give them the best access to care possible.” 

Key provisions of the Allowing Greater Access to Safe and Effective Contraception Act:

  • Incentivizes manufacturers of contraceptives to file an application for a prescription-to-over-the-counter switch (Rx-to-OTC switch) by:
    • Allowing priority review for contraceptive Rx-to-OTC switch applications.
    • Waiving the FDA filing fee for contraceptive Rx-to-OTC switch applications. 
  • Makes these incentives available to:
    • Contraceptives intended for routine-use that, if found to be safe and effective for OTC use by the FDA, would be made available OTC to adults aged 18 and above.