This App Lets Women Swipe Right for Birth Control

February 11th 2016

Lucy Tiven

Today's app market offers a vast and bizarre range of services that are just a swipe away — rides, meals, dates, condoms, legal weed, and even puppies. For women, however, obtaining birth control can still be a lengthy and challenging process, and typically requires a doctor's exam, prying interview, and pharmacy visit.

Last month, the start-up Nurx is working to streamline the process and launched a website where women can obtain a birth control prescription and three-month supply of the pills.

How It Works.

Nurx is currently available in California and is expanding to New York this week. Patients can sign up for the service by filling out an online survey about their medical history, which is reviewed by a doctor who fills the prescription and follows up with more questions if necessary.

the pill

If you have medical insurance, the contraceptives are free, and Nurx pays for the shipping costs, while uninsured women can get a three-month supply for as little as $15. The service is completely confidential, while users can select their preferred brand of contraceptives.

The Legal Status.

Advocates have long-argued that birth control should be available over the counter and Nurx says it aims "to increase access to birth control for all women."

“It’s absolutely ridiculous the way the system works,” Nurx co-founder and attorney Hans Gangeskar said. “We absolutely believe oral contraceptives should be available over the counter. This is one step on the way.”

nurx app

While patient requests still are reviewed by doctors telemedicine laws mean that they can approve the prescriptions online rather than in person or over the phone.

Recent legislation in California and Oregon made birth control available through a pharmacist, “under the counter."

Birth Control Still Isn't Available Over The Counter.

In 2013, a federal judged ruled that the morning after pill could be purchased over the counter by patients of all ages. However regular contraception isn't available OTC.

birth control pills

In December 2012, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommended making the pill available without a prescription, noting that the pill poses fewer dangers to users than common drugs like Motrin and Sudafed. But some obstetricians believe that easy access to contraception encourages risky sexual behavior.

Others believe that making the pill available over the counter could stop unwanted pregnancies that occur when “you run out on a Saturday night, you lose your pills, you go on vacation, you can’t get a doctor’s appointment,” as gynecologist Daniel Grossman said in The New York Times.

While the process of obtaining birth control still varies by state, the Nurx app means that some women will have an easier time having safe sex, and legislators may move toward deregulating the process sooner rather than later.