May 2010, Washington, DC: Exploring what the research tells us and collaborating with reproductive health and justice advocates on a strategy moving forward

In May 2010, the working group convened a daylong meeting entitled “Oral contraceptives over-the-counter: Exploring what the research tells us and collaborating with reproductive justice advocates on a strategy moving forward.” Twenty-four people attended the meeting; participants included representatives of reproductive justice, women’s health, and youth-focused organizations. The purpose of the meeting was to explore in greater depth advocates’ concerns and questions about an over-the-counter switch for a progestin-only pill (POP). In addition, participants provided input on working group activities and discussed opportunities for advocates to remain engaged in the working group.

The meeting was organized around the topics of safety, cost, and health services and referrals; “expert resources” were brought to the table to address these topics and contribute to the discussion. Participants in the meeting agreed that a broad-based campaign to bring a POP over-the-counter appears to be supported by the available data on safety, and that an OTC POP product could increase access for some women. The final part of the meeting focused on next steps. Participants shared their questions and priorities for moving forward and also stated how they would like to stay involved in the working group.