April 2020

Modeling the impacts of price of an over-the-counter progestin-only pill on use and unintended pregnancy among US women

Wollum A, Trussell J, Grossman D, Grindlay K. Modeling the impacts of price of an over-the-counter progestin-only pill on use and unintended pregnancy among US women. Women's Health Issues. DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.whi.2020.01.003

Objective: To model the impacts of out-of-pocket cost of an over-the-counter (OTC) progestin-only pill on use and associated unintended pregnancy among U.S. women.

Study Design: Using data from a 2015 nationally representative survey of 2,539 U.S. women aged 15 to 44 assessing interest in using an OTC progestin-only pill, we used discrete survival analysis and a Markov model to analyze women’s likelihood of using of an OTC pill at different price points and by sociodemographic characteristics. We modeled the impact of product price on the potential total number of U.S. users and on unintended pregnancies in 1 year among adult women at risk of unintended pregnancy.

Results: In a model assuming no out-of-pocket costs, more than 12.5 million adults and 1.75 million teens reported likely use of an OTC progestin-only pill if available. Among adults, this resulted in an estimated 8% decrease in unintended pregnancy in 1 year. Adult and teen women on average were willing to pay $15 and $10, respectively, resulting in 7.1 million adult and 1.3 million teen users and an estimated 5% decrease in unintended pregnancy among adults.

Conclusions: At low and no out-of-pocket cost, a large population of women in the United States might likely use an OTC progestin-only pill. A low retail price and insurance coverage are necessary to provide equitable access to this method for low-income populations across the United States, fill current gaps in contraceptive access, and potentially decrease unintended pregnancy.