FDA approves Plan B pill changes
Some nonprescription sales of morning-after pill allowed
Friday, August 25, 2006
By ANDREW BRIDGES
of The Associated Press
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Women can buy the morning-after pill without a prescription, the government declared Thursday, a major step that nevertheless failed to quell the politically charged debate over access to emergency contraception.
The manufacturer, lawmakers and other advocates said they will press the government to let minors purchase the pills over the counter.
The Food and Drug Administration said women 18 and older - and men purchasing for their partners - may buy the Plan B pills without a doctor's note, but only from pharmacies.
Girls 17 and younger still will need a prescription to buy the pills, the FDA told manufacturer Barr Pharmaceuticals Inc., in ruling on an application filed in 2003.
The compromise decision is a partial victory for women's advocacy and medical groups, which say easier access could halve the nation's 3 million annual unplanned pregnancies.
"While we are glad to know the FDA finally ended its foot-dragging on this issue, Planned Parenthood is troubled by the scientifically baseless restriction imposed on teenagers. The U.S. has one of the highest rates of teen pregnancy in the Western world - anything that makes it harder for teenagers to avoid unintended pregnancy is bad medicine and bad public policy," president Cecile Richards said.
Opponents contend that non-