A pharmaceutical company has applied to sell a non-prescription birth control pill in the United States for the first time ever.
The application comes amid legal and political battles over women’s reproductive health, following the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision to overturn Roe v. Wade last month, however, the company claims the timing of the application was unrelated.
Millions of women in the U.S. have used hormone-based pills as a form of birth control since the 1960s, which have always required a prescription in order for health professionals to screen for conditions that could lead to rare, but dangerous, blood clots stemming from side effects.
HRA Pharma, which is based in France, said it underwent years of research to determine how women can safely screen themselves for risks, which was included in its application to the FDA.
“For a product that has been available for the last 50 years, that has been used safely by millions of women, we thought it was time to make it more available,” said Frederique Welgryn, HRA’s chief strategy officer.
The FDA could approve the application next year, which would only apply to the HRA Pharma’s pill sold under its original brand name, Opill, though the company had previously acquired an older birth control pill from Pfizer, which isn’t currently being marketed in the U.S., according to CBS News.