Federal government grants retail access to the plan B pill
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the over-the-counter sale of Plan B One-Step. This popular “Morning After” pill, used as emergency contraception by females aged 15 and older.
Earlier this month a federal judge ordered that the FDA make Plan B available to all women, regardless of age.
Teva Women’s Health Inc makes the emergency contraceptive. “Research has shown that access to emergency contraceptive products has the potential to further decrease the rate of unintended pregnancies in the United States,” FDA Commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg said in an agency news release. She continues,”The data reviewed by the agency demonstrated that women 15 years of age and older were able to understand how Plan B One-Step works, how to use it properly and that it does not prevent the transmission of a sexually transmitted disease.”
To prevent girls under the age of 15 from buying Plan B, the FDA said the product will bear a label stating that proof of age will be required, and a special product code will prompt such an inquiry from the cashier. “In addition, Teva has arranged to have a security tag placed on all product cartons to prevent theft,” the FDA noted.
On April 5, Judge Edward Korman, from the Eastern District of New York, gave the FDA 30 days to remove age restrictions on the sale of emergency contraception, such as Plan B One-Step. Until now, girls 16 and younger needed a doctor’s prescription to get the pill, which typically works if taken within 72 hours after intercourse.
Plan B prevents implantation of a fertilized egg in a woman’s uterus through use of levonorgestrel, a synthetic form of the hormone progesterone used for decades in birth control pills. Plan B contains 1.5 milligrams of levonorgestrel, more than “the Pill” contains. It is considered a form of birth control, not abortion.
Women’s health advocates praised the FDA decision.