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Community Advocacy and Support by and for Young Mothers

Morning After Pill Sales Jump

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CanadianMamma
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Morning After Pill Sales Jump

http://www.cnn.com/2007/HEALTH/08/24/contraceptive.reut/index.html

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- Sales of the Plan B "morning-after pill" nearly doubled in the past year, exceeding expectations after the U.S. government allowed adults to buy the emergency contraceptive without a prescription.

A three-year battle ended last August when the Food and Drug Administration decided that women and men 18 and older could buy the Barr Pharmaceuticals Inc. product without a doctor's order if they showed proof of age at a pharmacy.

"More women know about it, and it's just becoming much more part of their mainstream reproductive health care," Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards said.

Plan B pills contain higher doses of progestin, a hormone used in prescription birth-control pills for 35 years. Two Plan B pills reduce odds of pregnancy by 89 percent if taken within 72 hours of sexual intercourse, studies show.

Plan B sales hit about $40 million a year when the product required a prescription for all women. Industry analysts and Barr projected nonprescription access for adults, approved in August 2006, could boost sales to about $60 million in 2007.

The popularity of Plan B has exceeded those estimates.

Barr launched the nonprescription version last November, and the company predicts 2007 sales will reach about $80 million.

"We believe (sales) will continue to grow," Barr spokeswoman Carol Cox said.

Foes seek more limits

Opponents of wider access say that is exactly what they had feared. Conservative and religious groups argued that easy availability would promote promiscuity and sexually transmitted diseases among teens and others.

Wendy Wright, president of Concerned Women for America, a group that opposed Plan B sales without a doctor's order, said minors may be obtaining it without a prescription or some women may be using it more than once.

"The high sales may indicate that our concerns are occurring," Wright said.

Some organizations want states to effectively limit Plan B access, but those efforts largely have failed to advance.

Family-planning groups say some women have reported trouble getting Plan B, with some pharmacists declining to dispense it or stores refusing to carry it.

Genevieve DeLucchi, 26, of North Carolina, said the first two pharmacies she visited last year did not have it in stock. She was able to buy it at a third.

After that, DeLucchi became a volunteer shopper for Planned Parenthood to gauge availability at stores. At some pharmacies she found "a lot of them had it, but they didn't know what to tell" customers about how to use it, or seemed reluctant to discuss it.

Barr and other backers want the age limit for non-prescription sales removed. Legal challenges on both sides are pending.

The Center for Reproductive Rights said a judge in New York may rule anytime on its argument that the FDA's decision-making was flawed and Plan B should be available without a prescription to women of all ages.

Concerned Women for America and other groups challenged the FDA decision last April in federal court in the District of Columbia. They want a doctor's order for all sales.

ASpecialOne
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Morning After Pill Sales Jump

Wow I didnt know they were alowing it w/o a perscription now.

mamatessa
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Morning After Pill Sales Jump

I didn't either. that's cool to know tho!

boigrrrlwonder
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Morning After Pill Sales Jump

I really hope that they don't create additional limits. Does anyone know a medical reason why a minor should have to see a doctor but a woman the age of majority wouldn't? Or is that just politics?

alertertt
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Morning After Pill Sales Jump

I have used Plan B once since it became OTC, and I was thrilled I didn't have to go through the hoops like I once would have needed too.

I think it is utterly asinine to think that the higher sale volume reflects increased promiscuity. Everyone I know who has utilized plan B has done so because it was an alternative that was not there before. It has not changed most people's behavior, IMO.

It is possible there is a medical reason for a younger woman to take it, and I would think this would be more regarding repeated usage and what that may mean developmentally for the woman taking it, but 18 is not some magical age medically. Most likely that is primarily a political motivation. I have never heard anything to make me think otherwise anyway.

mamatessa
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Morning After Pill Sales Jump

I dunno I"ve never heard of any valid reason before. I think it's just all politics. Same reason why girls under 18 can't get abortions without permission. . . control!

Takomamama
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Morning After Pill Sales Jump

I seem to remember that it was the age issue, in part, which held up the release for so long. It's also telling that so many folks don't know that the morning after pill's available over the counter now. We see plenty of tv advertisements for anti-depressants, weight loss pills, ect... but there's no campaign to spread the word about this.

Here's an article from the NY Times from a year ago. They discuss the age issue a little bit: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/24/health/24cnd-pill.html?ei=5090&en=517678199b64e8fc&ex=1314072000&adxnnl=1

Quote:
The F.D.A.’s acting commissioner, Andrew C. von Eschenbach, wrote that he decided that 18 was the appropriate cutoff for sales because pharmacies already restrict nicotine and cold medicines sales at that age.

“This approach builds on well-established state and private-sector infrastructures to restrict certain products to consumers 18 and older,” Dr. von Eschenbach wrote in a memorandum.

Dr. von Eschenbach’s predecessor, Dr. Lester M. Crawford, said last year that science supported giving over-the-counter access of the drug to women as young as 17, but that he could not figure out how to ensure that such an age restriction was enforced.

CanadianMamma
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Morning After Pill Sales Jump

Ugh, those ads make me so angry. Their purpose isn't to help people, it's to make more profit. Hey, ask your doctor if xxx medication is right for you. I can just imagine how many people go into their doctor's office insisting that xxx medication will make their lives better. Some of them don't even really tell what the medication is for.

But, yea, they should do that with the morning after pill. It's something that every woman of reproductive age should know about and know how to access. And it wouldn't hurt to have an emergency contraceptive kit handy in you bathroom just in case.

new_mom
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Morning After Pill Sales Jump

i knew thatit was we can get it here w/o prescription too