Breaking: SOME Morning After Pills Will Be OTC

The battle over where Plan B belongs in the drugstore continues: First, an April judicial ruling required the FDA to make emergency contraceptives available over the counter without any point-of-sale or age restrictions. Then, the Department of Justice later appealed the decision, asking for a temporary suspension of the case. The latest update: Earlier today, The U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the FDA must provide unrestricted over-the-counter access to some forms of emergency contraception, but not others, according to a recent press release from the Reproductive Health Technologies Project.

The new ruling says that the FDA does not need to provide OTC access to one-pill versions of emergency contraception (like Plan B One-Step); however, they do need to make two-pill versions available OTC immediately, without any age or point-of-sale restrictions. Essentially, it enforces the original order to put the morning after pill on store shelves, but only as it applies to the two-pill methods. According to the Center for Reproductive Rights, the FDA will now have 14 days to appeal this ruling, or they could comply and start working on getting two-pill doses (like the generic Levonorgestral tablets, 0.75mg) moved out from behind the pharmacy counter.

So why are they allowing the two-pill dose to hit shelves instead of the much more widely available one-pill version? It isn’t entirely clear. “I think it’s based on legal and procedural issues, not with what has been shown to be a safe and effective product—both in one pill and two pill versions,” says Susannah Baruch, interim president and CEO of the Reproductive Health Technologies Project.

While it might seem confusing that some forms of emergency contraception will be on store shelves while others will be behind the counter (and still others will require a prescription!), it’s important to note that all options are safe and effective forms of backup birth control, says Baruch. And this new ruling will mean that you can get the morning after pill whenever you need it—albeit in a slightly less convenient two-pill formula.

“This is a good day,” says Baruch.” We’re happy with the decision and eager to see what happens next. The path to full access to emergency contraception is open and we’re headed down that path.”

photo: WaveBreak Media/Thinkstock

More From Women’s Health:
The Morning After Pill May Soon Be OTC
The FDA Approves Plan B One Step
DOJ Appeals Emergency Contraception Ruling

javahut healthy feed

Breaking: The FDA Approves OTC Plan B

It’s official: In response to a court-ordered mandate, the FDA has given drugstores the green light to start selling emergency contraception over the counter to women 15 and older. The upshot? You’ll now be able to get Plan B even if a pharmacy’s not open when you need it—like, say, at 2 AM, right when the accident happens.

For more information on what these changes mean, read Women’s Health’s original report on the judicial ruling to take emergency contraceptive out from being the pharmacy counter.

photo: iStockphoto/Thinkstock

javahut healthy feed

Breaking: 2 Explosions Reported at Boston Marathon

Witnesses say they heard at least two explosions near the finish line at the Boston Marathon just before 3 p.m., according to The Boston Herald. The paper reports that there have been at least a dozen injuries and several casualties. The blasts happened at about 2:50 p.m.

We’ll continue to update you on the situation as more details are revealed.

Donate to the American Red Cross

Register or Search the Red Cross’ Safe and Well Listings


javahut healthy feed

BREAKING: The Morning After Pill May Soon Be OTC

In breaking birth control news, a federal judge has ordered the FDA to make emergency contraceptives available over the counter and without any point-of-sale or age restrictions. That means that all levonorgestrel-based emergency contraceptives (including Plan B, Plan B One-Step, and its generics) would be available without a script to women of all ages (previously, women under 17 had to get an Rx from their doc). Even more exciting: It’ll be available on actual store shelves—right next to the condoms and pain relievers—rather than behind the pharmacy counter. And as anyone who has had to frantically search for a 24-hour pharmacy or deal with a judgy pharmacist can tell you—this is huge!

“Today is an enormous victory for all women,” says Susannah Baruch, interim president and CEO of Reproductive Health Technologies Project. “This decision is giving every woman and couple easier access to a safe and effective birth control option.”

Back in 2011, the FDA planned to make emergency contraception available OTC for women of all ages, but that recommendation was overturned by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. In his decision today, Judge Edward Korman of the District Court of Eastern New York wrote that those restrictions were “arbitrary, capricious, and unreasonable.”

Unfortunately, this doesn’t necessarily mean that Plan B will be out on store shelves tomorrow. The Justice Department now has 30 days to make an appeal, though experts believe they’ll have a hard time making a case for it. If there aren’t any appeals, the FDA will then reach out to the manufacturers of Plan B and its generics to update their labeling to reflect these changes, says Baruch. “There is no exact timeline, but we wouldn’t expect there to be too many more delays,” says Baruch.

So what can you expect if all goes according to plan? Essentially, you could buy emergency contraception from any store that sells other OTC medications without having to chat up a pharmacist. “We no longer have to find on a Sunday morning or a Saturday night an open pharmacy counter with a pharmacist on duty,” says Susan Wood, PhD, associate professor of health policy and of environmental and occupational health at George Washington University. “You can purchase it as you would any other over-the-counter product.” And in terms of cost, the price will likely stay the same as it was behind the counter. The only difference will be for women who might have had a prescription for the drug and therefore might have had this covered under their insurance, says Wood. Those women will now have to pay the actual retail cost, which is typically around $ 50.

While we still don’t have a clear ETA for emergency contraception on drugstore shelves, the new ruling sends a message that access to birth control is something that should not come with limitations. “This is a stamp of approval for its safety,” says Baruch. “I hope we will not see any more unnecessary restrictions.”

photo: iStockphoto/Thinkstock

More from Women’s Health:
6 Things You Need to Know About the Morning After Pill
Your Guide to Emergency Contraception 
Are Your Birth Control Rights Endangered? 

javahut healthy feed

Breaking STD News From the CDC

According to a new infographic just released by the Centers for Disease Control, 24,000 young women a year are affected by infertility due to undiagnosed STDs. What’s more, only 55 percent of the young adults who have Chlamydia actually know they have it—and only 35 percent of those with Gonorrhea are aware of it. Here, more sobering stats:

Get more info on STDs and sexual health:

Types of STDs: Trouble Down Below

Safe Sex: Lay Down Some Rubber!

Scary News About STDs

Beyond Condoms

7 Surprising STD Facts

Why Isn’t Random Hooking Up Scary Anymore?

Two People, One STD—Is Sex Safe?

thumbnail photo: iStockphoto/Thinkstock

javahut healthy feed