PHARMACY ACCESS TO EMERGENCY CONTRACEPTION (EC)
In 2006, after three years of political posturing, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) finally approved over-the-counter access to the emergency contraceptive Plan B® for individuals age 18 and older. Emergency contraception, also known as the "morning-after" pill, can substantially reduce a woman's chance of becoming pregnant after unprotected sex. In 2009, the FDA approved Plan B®, and its generic equivalent Next Choice®, for over-the-counter use for individuals age 17 and over. In 2010, the FDA approved the emergency contraceptive ella®, which is safe and effective for use up to five days (120 hours) after sex. ella® is available only by prescription.
Press Release, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, FDA Approves Over-the-Counter Access for Plan B for Women 18 and Older; Prescription Remains Required for Those 17 and Under (Aug. 24, 2006). Reproductive Health Technologies Project, Emergency Contraception at http://www.rhtp.org/contraception/emergency/default.asp (last visited October 13, 2010). Press Release, Food and Drug Administration, FDA approves ella™ tablets for prescription emergency contraception (Aug. 13, 2010) at http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm222428.htm (last visited Oct. 25, 2010).