The Food and Drug Administration has decided to allow the Plan B morning-after pill to be sold over-the-counter, just like condoms.
This means Plan B, which will be stocked in the family planning or female health aisles, will be available for sale during each store’s normal operating hours, whether the store pharmacy is open or not.
Buyers 15 and older will be eligible to purchase the emergency contraceptive without a prescription, the FDA said today, but will have to show ID at the cash register to prove their age.
On April 5, a federal judge in New York ordered the FDA to grant a 2001 citizen’s petition that seeks to allow over-the-counter access to Plan B for women of all ages, the Associated Press reported. The FDA’s decision today does not address that request but approves a previous request from Plan B manufacturer Teva Women’s Health, Inc., to market the pill for use without a prescription to women 15 years and older.
“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 Margaret A. Hamburg, MD, said in a statement. “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.”