New Platform Makes It Easier to Get Internal Condoms
The internal condom, sold under the name FC2, has only been available by prescription for a few years, but now the company that manufactures this prevention method has launched an online platform to make it easier to get.
The internal condom was originally known as the female condom and was designed to be used during penis-in-vagina sex. In 2019, however the FDA approved the name change to “internal condom” in an acknowledgement that not all people with vaginas identify as female and that some people were using the device for protection during anal sex as well. The internal condom is a barrier method that lines the walls of the vagina or anus and protects against both pregnancy and STIs by preventing the exchange of bodily fluids (including semen) and blocking some skin-to-skin contact. Like with external/male condoms, the device can’t block skin-to-skin transmission if infected skin is outside the covered area.
FC2 had been available to purchase over the counter (OTC) in pharmacies like the male condom until 2018 when Veru, the company that makes it, switched to a prescription model. The switch was made for two reasons. First, it was hard for F2C to compete with male condoms for shelf space in pharmacies because the product has never become truly popular in the United States. In addition, however, the change to a prescription method meant that FC2 users with health insurance could take advantage of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) birth control benefit which mandates that different categories of prescription birth control be made available at no fee.
A New Telehealth Model
People who want internal condoms can get a prescription from any healthcare provider, but to help consumers clear this hurdle Veru recently launched the FC2 Rx Platform which connects users to an online provider to write the prescription. The site offers a survey that asks for basic information (age and sex assigned at birth) about you and your insurance. The survey is reviewed by a healthcare provider at no cost to you and then the prescription is sent to an online pharmacy that will ship the product directly to you. If you prefer to pick it up in person, the provider can send the prescription to the pharmacy of your choice. The process is free for consumers.
The platform is only available for people who were assigned female at birth and have insurance. For those who don’t meet this criteria, internal condoms are often available at health departments and clinics like Planned Parenthood.
Internal condoms can be a great choice for some people because they protect against both STIs and pregnancy, are controlled by the wearer, and can be inserted up to 8 hours before sex (so as not to interrupt the mood).