Page 2 of 2 Previous
Even so, many details remain to be worked out, including whether a federal judge agrees that the government has gone far enough or whether cheaper generics can be sold without restrictions, too.
The morning-after pill contains a higher dose of the female hormone progestin than found in regular birth control pills. Taking it within 72 hours of intercourse can cut the chances of pregnancy by up to 89 percent, but it works best within the first 24 hours. If a girl or woman already is pregnant, the pill, which prevents ovulation or fertilization of an egg, has no effect.
The controversy over Plan B dates to 2011, when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration was preparing to allow over-the-counter sales of the morning-after pill with no limits; Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, with the support of President Obama, overruled her own scientists in an unprecedented move.
Then, in April, the FDA announced that Plan B One-Step — the same drug but combined into one pill instead of two — could be sold without a prescription to those ages 15 and older. Its maker, Teva Women’s Health, plans to begin those sales soon. Sales had previously been limited to those who were at least 17.
The International Consortium on Emergency Contraception estimates that six countries have such drugs available over the counter.
The federal government has not set a date for the change.
This story contains material from the Associated Press. Ashley Griffin • 612-673-4652