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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 isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t entirely clear. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I think itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s based on legal and procedural issues, not with what has been shown to be a safe and effective productÃ¢â‚¬”both in one pill and two pill versions,Ã¢â‚¬Â says Susannah Baruch, interim president and CEO of the Reproductive Health Technologies Project.