Millions of women in the United States want contraception but can’t get it. With the addition of Delaware in May 2021, The Pill Club now offers people who menstruate virtual access to licensed providers who can prescribe birth control in 47 states, and discreet contraception delivery nationwide.
Unlike standard online pharmacies, The Pill Club [UPDATE: now Favor] focuses specifically on confidentiality, cost-savings, and virtual prescribing services. This focus is designed to empower people who menstruate, giving them control over their reproductive choices.
A broad range of factors creates significant barriers to contraception for many people, especially for individuals with limited financial resources. According to research conducted by Power to Decide, more than 19 million women who are eligible for publicly funded contraception live in “contraceptive deserts.” The term refers to geographic areas in some states where lack of access leaves hundreds of thousands of women unprotected. In these locations, eligible women don’t have reasonable access to a clinic providing a full range of birth control options. That means women have little to no choice about their birth control method, must travel more than an hour to reach the nearest clinic, or both.
Even people who aren’t eligible for publicly-funded contraception suffer from a lack of access in areas with limited health providers who prescribe birth control. Travel to the nearest clinic can require unpaid time off from work, costs for transportation, finding and paying for child care, and other concerns. Other factors that impede access include high out-of-pocket expenses and deductibles, lack of information, social stigma, and controlling or abusive family members.
Currently, people living in 47 states and Washington, D.C. have the option to obtain a legal birth control prescription through the platform. After completing an online questionnaire, users receive a prescription from a licensed doctor or nurse practitioner. They can choose to fill the prescription through The Pill Club’s free delivery service or another pharmacy.
The Pill Club ships contraception to all 50 states for free. Members can sign up for auto-renew or request delivery each month. Packages shipped by The Pill Club have no identifying markings in order to maintain confidentiality. Users concerned about receiving deliveries at home can choose to have their prescription sent to an alternate address. Monthly members receive bonus samples and gifts in their deliveries.
The company accepts major health plans and Medicaid. For the uninsured, The Pill Club offers $15 prescribing services and negotiates bulk rates with vendors to keep self-pay medication costs low. Options include more than 100 brands of oral birth control, emergency contraceptive pills, and the FC2 female condom.
The Pill Club recently added virtual dermatology prescriptions to its platform. The new service addresses the prevalence of hormonal acne in menstruating people. This condition, often treated with oral contraceptives, can have a negative social and psychological impact and may even affect an individual’s ability to obtain employment. The company is currently developing a pilot program to offer its users virtual primary care. Once it gains prescribing privileges in Alaska, Arkansas, and Mississippi the company will have met its primary goal: making equitable, affordable access to birth control a reality for all Americans.