FDA loosens Plan B restrictions

by Marion Renault

The Food and Drug Administration announced Tuesday that it would lower the age for the morning-after pill to girls and women ages 15 and older without a prescription as well as make the pill available on drugstore shelves. Previously, the Plan B One-Step pill was only available behind pharmacy counters to those ages 17 and older.

The F.D.A. and White House said that same day that the Department of Justice still hadn’t decided if it would appeal a recent ruling by a federal judge that mandated loosening restriction of the pill’s access.

According to USA Today, F.D.A. officials say the announcement is unrelated to that federal judge's order.

Earlier in April, federal Judge Edward R. Korman in the Eastern District of New York gave the FDA 30 days to make the pill available to all ages without a prescription—saying the Obama administration had put politics before science in its restrictions of the drug, according to the New York Times.

The new rules would also allow women to purchase the pill if their pharmacy counter is closed by making it available in family planning or women’s health aisles of drugstores.

Margaret A. Hamburg, the F.D.A. commissioner, said in a statement that data showed  15-year-olds “were able to understand how Plan B One-Step works, how to use it properly, and that it does not prevent the transmission of a sexually transmitted disease."

Marty Berndt, a vice president and general manager for Teva, called the agency’s decision “a significant milestone for women.”