Barriers to Emergency Contraception Still Exist

The Food and Drug Administration has granted exclusive rights to Teva Pharmaceuticals, the makers of Plan B One-Step emergency contraception.  As a result, Plan B will be available on pharmacy shelves without a prescription or age restrictions, but the generic form of the pill will remain behind pharmacy counters and available without a prescription only to women over the age of 17.

Earlier in the year, the federal government announced its intention to lift restrictions on sales of emergency contraception in compliance with a federal court ruling.  The decision seemed to mark an end to a decade long debate, even though the “morning-after-pill,” as it is know, has long been proven safe for women of all ages and is not an abortion pill. 

This week’s decision by the FDA means that until 2016, only Plan B One-Step will be available without barriers.  Unfortunately, this means that younger teenagers and lower income women may still have trouble accessing emergency contraception, as the generic form of the pill, which is $10 to $15 cheaper than the brand name, will still be restricted.

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