Exciting contraceptive news for the United States! This week, the FDA granted three-year exclusivity rights for Plan B One-Step. Plan B One-Step, or the “morning after pill” is a one-pill backup plan that helps prevent pregnancy from occurring after unprotected sex or in the case of birth control failure. It is not a form of birth control in and of itself, but is a form of emergency contraceptive. The Plan B One-Step website posted the following informational guidelines for the pill:
- For use within 72 hours (3 days) after sex, but the sooner you take it, the better it works
- Contains levonorgestrel, the same ingredient used in many birth control pills—and it works in a similar way
According to The Boston Globe, the pill is now approved for over the counter sales and pharmacies can stock them on the shelves. Plan B One-Step has no age restriction and does not require parental or guardian approval for purchase. However, generic versions of One-Step seeking FDA approval must comply with an age restriction of 17-years and older until 2016, when the exclusivity rights expire. The two-pill generic version can still be purchased without a prescription, but must be purchased directly from behind pharmacy counters and consumers must be at least 17-years of age.
In short, what this means is that Plan B One-Step is now accessible to girls and women of any age without restrictions in the United States! Which means women in the United States have that much more control of their bodies, their sex lives, and their decisions.
Cost of the Plan B One-Step over the counter is about $50.00, with some health centers and clinics pricing it slightly lower. For example, the Chicago Women’s Health Center sells the emergency contraceptive for $35.00, far below retail price and more affordable for many low-income women.
In the next few weeks, check in with your local pharmacy or health center to see if they are, or will be, stocking Plan B One-step on their shelves. If yes, leave a note in the comments to let us know!
Please note: Plan B One-Step is NOT the abortion pill (RU-486), nor is it intended for use as a regular form of birth control. Please consult your doctor about birth control methods that are right for you.