Today, after years of foot-dragging, the FDA put politics aside and granted over-the-counter status to emergency contraception for women 18 and older. This age restriction means pharmacies will likely keep this safe, effective backup method of birth control behind the counter, forcing all women to ask a pharmacist’s permission to access it. Planned Parenthood will continue to work diligently to secure over-the-counter access of emergency contraception for ALL women of ALL ages â€” without them needing permission from a pharmacist.
Here is how the long road was traveled:
December 16, 2003: A joint hearing of the FDA Nonprescription Drugs and Reproductive Health Drugs Advisory Committees votes 23 to four to recommend that the FDA make Plan B emergency contraception available over the counter.
May 6, 2004: The FDA notifies Barr Laboratories, which manufactures Plan B, that its application for over-the-counter status is denied, citing concerns about adolescent use.
January 21, 2005: In a highly unusual move, the FDA misses its deadline to rule on the revised application. The agency indicates that review of the medication is expected to be completed in the near future but does not specify a date.
July 15, 2005: Sens. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and Patty Murray (D-WA) obtain agreement from the FDA to rule on Plan B status by September 1, 2005.
August 26, 2005: The FDA announces yet another delay on issuing a decision on the application to make Plan B available over the counter.
July 31, 2006: The FDA announces it will open discussions with Barr Laboratories to make Plan B available over the counter for women 18 and over. The FDA states it will not approve Plan B for over-the-counter sale to young women under 18.
August 24, 2006: The FDA approves over-the-counter sale of Plan B to women 18 and over.
So, go to your local Planned Parenthood affiliate and pickup a package of emergency contraception to backup your birth control! And be sure to send some appreciation to Hillary Clinton and Patty Murray for all their hard work.
For more information, visit Planned Parenthood.