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Opill: The Over-The-Counter Birth Control Transforming Access To Contraception In The US | The Optimist Daily

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Opill, the first over-the-counter birth control pill in the United States, is poised to change the landscape of contraceptive access. It is a progestin-only contraceptive pill and boasts an impressive 98 percent efficacy rate in preventing pregnancy, as substantiated by data submitted to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. 

Conveniently, it can be procured through online platforms and will soon hit the shelves of major retailers including CVS, Walgreens, Target, and Walmart, offering widespread accessibility to consumers across the nation. Individuals will be able to receive birth control without a prescription via Opill, similar to how common drugs such as Tylenol or aspirin may be obtained. Dr. Jonas Swartz, an OB-GYN at Duke Health, emphasized the importance of this breakthrough, saying, “This is a big win for reproductive health care access.”

Over-the-counter access: taking down barriers

Dr. Swartz hails Opill as a huge achievement for reproductive health care access, citing the elimination of unnecessary barriers to obtaining a prescription. “As physicians, we don’t need to be the gatekeepers to contraception, and I think [Opill] removes that gate in a really meaningful way,” he said.

Dana Singiser, co-founder of the Contraception Access Initiative, agrees with Swartz, describing over-the-counter access as a “pivotal milestone” in the face of rising abortion restrictions. “As abortion bans are being passed across the country, it is even more important for people to be empowered to not get pregnant if that’s what they want,” Singiser said.

Filling gaps: addressing unmet needs

Opill is positioned to fill major gaps in contraception access, particularly among underserved groups. Dr. Swartz emphasizes the potential impact of over-the-counter contraception in rural areas with provider shortages, where traditional treatment may be limited. He goes on to say, “It’s a real shame to lose access to contraception completely in that gap.”

Beyond the doctor’s office: pharmacist-prescribed contraception

Contraception is accessible outside typical healthcare settings to community pharmacies, where Opill is predicted to be widely distributed. Mollie Scott, regional assistant dean at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy, emphasized the need for pharmacists to deliver complete contraceptive counseling and customized care. “I can see a woman coming into the pharmacy, and the pharmacist can have the conversation with her about [Opill] and other options,” Scott said.

The road to affordable access: challenges and solutions

While Opill represents a huge advancement in contraception access, price remains a major barrier. Singiser supports federal laws that require insurance coverage for over-the-counter contraception, which aligns with public opinion and legislative actions aiming at increasing fair access to birth control. She underlines the significance of tackling affordability obstacles for Opill to have the greatest impact on boosting contraceptive availability nationwide.

Singiser emphasizes the importance of resolving affordability concerns, particularly among vulnerable communities. “The $20 price for a one-month supply will be out of reach for some folks,” she said. 

According to KFF’s 2022 Women’s Health Survey, there is significant variation in the affordability barrier for over-the-counter oral contraception. Only 16 percent of respondents indicated a willingness to pay more than $20 per month, while 39 percent were OK with a monthly expenditure of $1-10. Alarmingly, 11 percent said they were unable or unwilling to pay for over-the-counter contraception. In response to these concerns, Perrigo, the maker of Opill, has announced plans for a cost-assistance program that will help qualified low-income and uninsured persons obtain Opill at a reduced or no cost.

However, while federal regulation requires coverage for FDA-approved contraception with a prescription, there is a significant gap in coverage for nonprescription contraception. Singiser lobbies for policy changes to address the discrepancy. She stresses the illogical discrepancy in which prescription contraception is covered yet over-the-counter methods are disregarded. Singiser emphasizes the importance of a unified government policy requiring insurance coverage for over-the-counter contraception, which aligns with the majority of Americans who support increased access to birth control. Legislative initiatives are underway to solve this issue, with the goal of not only stocking shelves with contraceptives but also making them affordable to all persons in need.

The post Opill: the over-the-counter birth control transforming access to contraception in the US first appeared on The Optimist Daily: Making Solutions the News.

Life Force Now

What is a Channel?

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The way we communicate with one another is changing. Some of us are even starting to talk with people, not on this planet. That’s what happened to Kelly Bowker.

Kelly is a registered nurse and teacher and she can now add channeler to that list. Today she shares with us how these conversations first began.

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The Positive Impact of Happiness Classes on the Bavarian Education System

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Middle schools in Bavaria, Germany, have been brightening up their classrooms with happiness classes since 2013, with remarkable results. These aren’t your typical classes. They’re based on positive psychology and growth mindset theory, teaching students to see stress and challenges as opportunities to grow. Techniques such as understanding the physiological stress response and practicing gratitude have led to increased self-confidence, reduced conflicts, and enhanced learning abilities among participants.

One touching activity involved children making “gratitude necklaces,” highlighting things they’re thankful for, a favorite among both students and their teachers. The happiness classes aim to support students’ emotional well-being and aspire to make the teaching profession more attractive. Through these classes, students are gaining a set of tools for life, learning the importance of noticing everyday joys and developing a positive outlook.

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Europe Raises The Bar: MEPs Approve The World’s First Comprehensive AI Legislation | The Optimist Daily

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In a historic move, the European Parliament approved the world’s first comprehensive framework for regulating artificial intelligence (AI). Driven by concerns about prejudice, privacy violations, and societal hazards, the AI Act represents a crucial step toward managing the rapidly increasing AI ecosystem. MEP Dragos Tudorache stressed that “The AI act is not the end of the journey but the starting point for new governance built around technology,” with the goal of making AI more “human-centric.”

How the AI Act works: managing risks and regulations

At the heart of the AI Act is the classification of AI products based on their potential societal impact, allowing for targeted inspection and regulation. The law takes a risk-based approach, with higher-risk AI applications subject to more strict regulations. Provisions include an outright ban on AI systems that endanger basic rights, as well as severe standards for high-risk applications such as essential infrastructure and healthcare.

Enza Iannopollo, principal analyst at Forrester, praises the AI Act as a game-changing step, adding, “The adoption of the AI Act marks the beginning of a new AI era, and its importance cannot be overstated.”

The AI Act also establishes the EU as the global standard for trustworthy AI.

By implementing enforceable regulations to address AI dangers, the EU sets an example for other countries throughout the world. Even while other countries, such as China and the United States, make progress in AI law, the EU’s holistic approach propels it to the forefront of AI governance.

Addressing copyright and transparency

A significant component of the AI Act is resolving issues about copyright and openness in AI development. Specific rules apply to generative AI tools and chatbots, requiring transparency in model training data and conformity with EU copyright laws. MEP Dragos Tudorache emphasized the heavy lobbying surrounding copyright provisions, which reflects the controversial aspect of regulating AI in creative fields.

The number of AI enterprises facing legal difficulties over data usage highlights the need for copyright restrictions in AI research. From OpenAI to Nvidia, corporations are facing lawsuits for data scraping and copyright breaches. The AI Act’s provisions seek to achieve a balance between promoting innovation and safeguarding intellectual property rights in AI development.

What’s ahead: implementation and compliance

While the AI Act is a big step forward, it still has to be passed into law. The thorough review by lawyer-linguists and approval by the European Council remain critical milestones. However, the Act’s looming implementation has forced firms to review their compliance procedures. Kirsten Rulf, a partner at Boston Consulting Group, has noticed an increase in inquiries from businesses seeking advice on expanding AI technologies and handling legal challenges.

As the EU moves on with its groundbreaking AI legislation, businesses and stakeholders must adapt to the changing legal environment. With over 300 enterprises already seeking clarity on compliance, the need for legal certainty highlights the AI Act’s critical role in shaping the future of AI governance.

The post Europe raises the bar: MEPs approve the world’s first comprehensive AI legislation first appeared on The Optimist Daily: Making Solutions the News.

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