Friday, August 25, 2006

FDA Approves Plan B's Over-the-Counter Sale

From the Washington Post this morning:


By the end of the year, American women will be able to walk into any pharmacy and buy emergency contraceptive pills without a prescription as a result of a Food and Drug Administration decision announced yesterday.

The decision means women will not have to go to a doctor first as long as they can prove they are 18 or older to a pharmacist, who will keep the drugs behind a counter. Younger teenagers will still need a prescription, and the pills will not be sold at gas stations, convenience stores or other outlets that do not have pharmacists.

The approval marks the first time a hormonal contraceptive will be broadly available in the United States without a prescription. The pills, which will be sold as Plan B, will probably cost about $25 to $40 per dose, and men will also be able to buy them.

The announcement was aimed at resolving one of the longest and highest-profile health controversies of the Bush administration, but opponents said they are considering plans to block the decision, either in court or in Congress.

To read on, click here.

3 comments:

bob koepp said...

This is a pretty hollow victory for those of us who support open access to drugs that can be safely and effectively self-administered. Throw a few scraps to the dogs.

Steve Latham said...

In the period 1990-2000, the pregnancy rate for girls under 15 was 2.1 per 1000, and the abortion rate .9 per 1000. Among 15 to 17-year-old girls, the pregnancy rate was 53.5/1000 and the abortion rate, 14.5/1000. These girls will still need to see a doctor to get a Plan B prescription, at the cost not only of the drug, but also of the office visit--and they'll have to do it within the drug's 72-hour window of effectiveness in preventing pregnancy. But 18- and 19-year-olds had much higher pregnancy and abortion rates (129.9/1000 and 37.7/1000, respectively). They, at least, will have relatively free access to the pregnancy-preventing drug. Not a complete victory then, but not a hollow one, either.

bob koepp said...

It's a good thing that women 18+ will have legal access to Plan B. It's outrageous, though, that a supposedly OTC drug can only be obtained through a pharmacy. What's the justification for that little twist?
Hollow? You bet. Like a drum.