a statewide queer people of color organization

Female Condoms Moving to Prescription Only Model

In an interview and subsequent article that was released by thebody.com Veru Health, the makers of the FC2 condom, have announced that the FC2 (also known as female condoms, receptive condoms, or insertive condoms) will be moving over to a prescription based model. Setting the company up to create additional barriers between people and this sexual health option. With a prescription based model, FC2 condoms will no longer be available over the counter. Instead people will need to visit a doctor who can provide a prescription, and then have that prescription filled at a pharmacy. Meaning that those who are uninsured, of whom a disproportionate number are people of color, will encounter an increased cost to purchase an FC2.

For those of you who many not know what an FC2 condom is- whereas the condom that is most often used is an external barrier placed over the insertive partner before intercourse, the FC2 is used as an internal barrier, placed inside of the receptive partner before intercourse.

The FC2 has a lot going for it, it puts additional power of when to use physical protection into the hands of the receptive partner, may assist with better sensation for both partners when compared to other condoms, and is a latex free option for those with latex allergy. And while the FC2 is only approved by the FDA for vaginal sex, it has gained quite a following with people who use it for anal sex.
Currently, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) covers 18 birth control methods which includes the FC2. Previously, you could purchase a three pack of FC2 over the counter for a little more than $9 but with the change to a prescription model some people may have to pay upwards of $20 to purchase one. Reasons someone might have to pay the full price include:

  • Being uninsured
  • Wanting the FC2 for off-label use (such as for anal sex)
  • Not qualifying for or being denied birth control benefits (such as gay, bi, or queer men and trans women)
  • And any other reason a provider might create for denying a prescription or an insurance company for denying specific coverage.

Moving to a prescription based model, where people with insurance can access FC2 at no cost and those who do not have insurance encounter increased cost, ignores the fact that even getting insurance in the first place is a barrier for many people, let alone getting to see a doctor, and filling a prescription. With the birth control sections of ACA under intense scrutiny by the current administration, it seems to be an ill-timed and ill-advised decision.
Instead of creating ways for the most underserved members of our communities to access this sexual health option, Veru has put in place additional barriers, while also completely ignoring the fact that many people encounter judgement and stigma around sexual health from their healthcare providers.

On the brightside, according to the interview, Veru Health will still make the product available to health departments and nonprofits at no change in cost, meaning that people will still be able to get access to FC2s without having to go see a provider. They will only have to live near, or be able to travel to a health department, or non-profit that is providing them in their community.
If you are interested in the FC2 condoms stop by allgo and grab a supply. We also have a wide array of different types of condoms, lube, and dental dams. If you are unable to make it out to our space, you can also try the CDN Store who will ship condoms, including FC2 condoms, to your house for free as long as you live in Travis, Bastrop, Caldwell, Hays, or Williamson county. If you live outside of those counties you can also try Gilead Sciences Website which will ship for free anywhere in the US but gives smaller quantities.

 

We’d like to know what you think about these health care changes. Please let us know in the comments or continue the conversation with us on on Facebook and Twitter!