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.


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.