How to Get Birth Control Without a Doctor's Appointment
A new app will deliver a three-month supply within 24 hours—for free.
Women can now get birth control delivered to their homes as easily as they can order take-out—finally.
The new app Nurx makes it incredibly convenient for women over 18 to access the patch, ring, or pill—even Plan B—privately and quickly. Although the service is only available in California and New York right now, the company plans to expand to other states soon.
The process is simple: You start by selecting your brand of birth control. If you're not sure what you want, you can ask that a doctor choose a type that's appropriate for you. Or, you can answer a few questions (about the severity of your PMS, for example, and whether you are concerned about acne) and receive recommendations. Then you fill out a survey about your personal health, and an MD reviews your info and request before writing a virtual prescription.
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Within 24 hours, a three-month supply arrives at your door. If you don't have health insurance, the medication starts at $15. If you do have insurance, the service is completely free.
It couldn't get much easier. But, you might be wondering, is this really a safe way to get a script?
The answer is yes, according to Jennifer Conti, MD, a clinical instructor of obstetrics and gynecology at Stanford University School of Medicine. "The vast majority of healthy women don't need an appointment for a prescription," she explains. And the Nurx system mimics the consultation that would happen between you and your physician. Plus, moving the whole process online makes it cheaper and far more convenient than going to a doctor's office—not to mention safer for young or at-risk women who need privacy.
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"Any advancement that makes obtaining birth control easier for women is a great thing," says Dr. Conti.
The Pill Club is another delivery service designed to improve access to contraception. It's currently licensed to dispense birth control in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and California. But unlike with Nurx, you need to have an existing prescription in order to join.
Of course, if you have any questions or concerns about birth control, you should speak with a doctor. (In Nurx, you can request to talk to a doc over the phone or via live text message). But these types of services—along with new state laws making birth control available over-the-counter—are signs of an encouraging and empowering trend that's making it easier for women to take their healthcare into their own hands.