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Empowering Choice: Making Birth Control Accessible to All

Samantha Miller and Kate Voyten Discuss the Pivotal Role of Cadence OTC In Democratizing Access to Contraceptives Via Over-The-Counter Solutions

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Devin: what is your superpower?

Samantha: The entrepreneurial journey, especially in small pharma, can be crushing at times. One of my superpowers is that I have developed the ability to not be torn down, not be stressed out in the face of sometimes heavy, discouraging news. That has allowed me to persevere.

Devin: What is your superpower?

Kate: I think my superpower is optimism. I really believe there's no problem that cannot be solved.

In today's episode of Superpowers for Good, I had the pleasure of speaking with Samantha Miller and Kate Voyten from Cadence OTC. Samantha, the co-founder and CEO, shared fascinating insights about their mission to make contraceptives more accessible.

Samantha explained that Cadence OTC is not just a business; it's a crusade to empower individuals by increasing over-the-counter access to safe and affordable contraceptives. This access is not only about convenience but also about empowering individuals with choices regarding their reproductive health.

One point that Samantha passionately made stands out: "We're in a unique position to fill this huge market need." This statement underscores the gap Cadence OTC aims to bridge by making contraceptives available next to everyday items in drugstores, a revolutionary shift from the prescription-only model.

Their journey involves intricate collaboration with the FDA and extensive consumer education to ensure that the switch to over-the-counter access is both effective and safe. Samantha shared the complexities involved in this transition, noting, "It involves a lot of consumer studies as well as intensive collaboration with FDA."

But perhaps the most powerful aspect of our conversation was the broader impact of their work. Samantha eloquently highlighted the potential societal benefits: reducing unintended pregnancies and thereby improving the lives of women and families across the nation. "The big-picture goal that we have of reducing unintended pregnancy for everyone and making sure that all children are wanted and intended is so important," she stated.

As we continued our discussion, it was clear that the work Cadence OTC is doing could reshape the landscape of women's health. By making birth control as accessible as buying a pack of gum, they are not just selling a product; they are fostering a movement towards greater personal agency and health equity. This is more than health care reform; it's a cultural shift towards empowering individuals to make informed choices about their bodies and futures.

We delved into the Wefunder crowdfunding campaign launched by Cadence OTC. Kate Voyten shared that this campaign marks the first open opportunity for public investment in their transformative initiative to bring birth control over the counter. This effort not only aims to improve access to contraceptives but also targets what Kate described as "contraceptive deserts" across the United States—areas with limited access to crucial health products. The campaign is a call to action, inviting everyone to join in supporting a mission with both immediate impact and a visionary long-term goal, illustrating a potent blend of entrepreneurial spirit and commitment to public health.

AI Episode Summary

1. Introduction to Cadence OTC: The episode begins with Devin introducing Samantha Miller and Kate Voyton from Cadence OTC, a company working to make birth control accessible over-the-counter (OTC) and promoting their crowdfunding campaign.

2. Mission of Cadence OTC: Samantha explains that Cadence OTC, based in Oakland, California, aims to increase access to safe, effective, and affordable contraceptives via over-the-counter availability, addressing a significant market need.

3. Significance of OTC Birth Control: Kate details the process and challenges of moving birth control pills from prescription-only to OTC, emphasizing the huge shift this represents in accessibility and convenience for consumers.

4. FDA Collaboration and Consumer Studies: Samantha describes the extensive process of working with the FDA for over six years, including consumer studies and dealing with regulatory details to ensure consumers understand the product’s safe usage.

5. Market Size and Opportunity: Kate highlights the size of the women's health and reproductive health market, estimating it at around $21 billion, and the continuous need and commercial opportunity for accessible contraception to address unintended pregnancies.

6. Impact on Unintended Pregnancies and Abortions: The conversation shifts to how accessible birth control could reduce unintended pregnancies and abortions, with a focus on giving women and families more control.

7. Discussion on Teenagers and Access: Addressing concerns about teenagers having more access to contraceptives, Samantha emphasizes data showing that contraceptive access doesn't increase sexual activity but can help prevent unintended teen pregnancies.

8. Crowdfunding to Improve Access: Kate discusses the crowdfunding campaign aimed at supporting the mission of making emergency contraceptive pills more accessible in convenience stores, potentially serving as a bridge to making the birth control pill available OTC.

9. Superpowers for Good: Devin asks Samantha and Kate about their "superpowers" or unique abilities that have helped them in their mission, touching on perseverance, optimism, and pragmatic problem-solving.

10. Community Influence and Future Steps: The episode ends with a story illustrating community support and the importance of making contraceptives more accessible. Samantha invites listeners to learn more through Cadence OTC's website and their Wefunder campaign, expressing hope for continued success in their mission.


How to Develop Resilience As a Superpower

Samantha possesses a profound superpower of resilience. Her entrepreneurial journey, particularly in the challenging realm of small pharmaceuticals, has equipped her with an exceptional ability to withstand setbacks without succumbing to stress. This resilience has been crucial in navigating the tumultuous path of bringing innovative health solutions to market, enabling her to persevere where many might falter.

An exemplifying moment of Samantha using her superpower occurred during a critical phase with the FDA. Despite receiving discouraging news about needing additional work before advancing to a final trial, which led some team members to quit, Samantha rallied her team. She reminded them of the significant hurdles overcome by others in similar dire straits, thereby reinforcing her team's resolve and commitment to their groundbreaking work.

Some simple tips for developing Samantha’s superpower are:

- Embrace challenges as opportunities for growth.

- Maintain focus and calm under pressure to lead effectively.

- Cultivate a positive team environment that can endure setbacks.

By following Samantha's example and advice, you can make resilience a skill. With practice and effort, you could make it a superpower that enables you to do more good in the world.

Remember, however, that research into success suggests that building on your own superpowers is more important than creating new ones or overcoming weaknesses. You do you!

How to Develop Pragmatic OptimismAs a Superpower

Kate’s superpower, pragmatic optimism, has been honed through her extensive experience in consumer products and startups. She combines a steadfast belief that no problem is insurmountable with a practical approach to solving it. This blend allows her to navigate the complexities of commercial operations and consumer needs effectively, fostering success in ambitious projects.

Kate's pragmatic optimism shone during her efforts to introduce Cadence OTC’s products into convenience stores. Despite initial rejections from store owners wary of investing in a new product, Kate persisted. Her determination paid off dramatically when, during a conversation with a hesitant store owner, a customer intervened to emphasize the product’s importance, resulting in the owner placing an order. This incident highlights how Kate's optimism, combined with practical engagement, can turn skepticism into support.

Some simple tips for developing pragmatic optimism are:

- Approach problem-solving with a combination of data-driven insights and a positive outlook.

- Build and maintain relationships based on trust and mutual benefit.

- Be persistent in pursuing goals, even in the face of initial rejection.

By following Kate’s example and advice, you can make pragmatic optimism a skill. With practice and effort, you could make it a superpower that enables you to do more good in the world.

Remember, however, that research into success suggests that building on your own superpowers is more important than creating new ones or overcoming weaknesses. You do you!

Guest Profile

Samantha Miller (she/her):

Co-founder & CEO, Cadence OTC

About Cadence OTC: Cadence OTC is working with the FDA to enable The Pill to be sold over-the-counter– without a prescription– via the well-established first-in-class Rx-to-OTC switch process. Our product is the combination pill, which is the type of oral contraceptive used by more than 90% of women using a birth control pill. Simultaneously, we’re amplifying access to existing over-the-counter contraceptives, creating the first emergency contraceptive (i.e. Morning After Pill) available in convenience stores such as 7-11 and Circle K. Cadence OTC’s flagship birth control product has already generated a $415K revenue in its first quarter of sales.  Cadence is making birth control pills as easy to buy as condoms and disrupting the $21B reproductive health industry.


Company Facebook Page:


Instagram Handle: @cadence_otc

Other URL:

Biographical Information: Samantha is an experienced pharmaceutical entrepreneur. She has closed 50+ deals driving $3B+ value, including two acquisition exits. She has led 13+ equity rounds, raising $300M+. She started her career at Procter & Gamble Pharmaceuticals and is co-founder and CEO of Cadence OTC, a reproductive health company. She earned a BS at the University of California San Diego in Biochemistry, an MSc from the University of Rochester in Microbiology and an MBA from the University of Rochester.

Personal Facebook Profile:

Kate Voyten (she/her):

SVP Commercial, Cadence OTC

Biographical Information: Kate is a seasoned business leader with over 20 years of experience revitalizing small brands and stagnant businesses. She started her career at Procter and Gamble, working first in operation roles and eventually moving to brand management to run businesses in the US, Europe and Asia. Her consumer-centric approach to innovation and commercial strategies along with her operational experience has helped her transform businesses across consumer goods, automotive and healthcare categories. Some of her favorite challenges were the relaunch of the iconic $500 Million Herbal Essences brand, returning it to profitable growth, spearheading the digital transformation and omnichannel strategy for the Hertz loyalty program, and building the OneTouch diabetes business in retail and e-commerce. Kate is passionate about developing people and building partnerships that deliver business transformations. She earned her BS and MS from Carnegie Mellon University.


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Superpowers for Good
Superpowers for Good: Empowering Changemakers for Social Impact via Regulated Investment Crowdfunding from the SuperCrowd.
We host changemakers who are using regulated investment crowdfunding for social impact--impact crowdfunding--as impact investors or social entrepreneurs, catalyzing change with leadership skills we call superpowers.