Monday, August 28, 2006

U.S. allows some nonprescription sales of morning-after pill

It looks like the FDA was able to push Plan B to OTC status after a long road despite political objections. However, it's not as simple as it ordinarily would be. Plan B will be kept behind the pharmacy counter and only those over 18 can purchase it without a Rx. Youths will still require a prescription.

Beyond the obvious political and moral debate, this is pretty interesting from a pharmacy point of view. While Canadian pharmacies have established "no public access" areas that contain items like Gravol, Tylenol #1's and other items that a pharamcist must give out, such a category has not existed in the States. A drug there is either Rx or can be sold anywhere, even gas stations, etc. This ruling essentially creates a "no public access" category in the States. Will pharmacy regulators take advantage of this new category and attempt to add other items, or will the opportunity be missed?

From the Canadian Press:
Women in the United States can buy the morning-after pill without a prescription, the government declared Thursday, a major step that nevertheless failed to quell a politically charged debate over access to emergency contraception.

The manufacturer, lawmakers and other advocates said they will press the U.S. government to allow minors to purchase the pills over the counter. ...more

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