Not over-the-counter, not even behind it…

I’ve spent most of the past few weeks packing, moving and driving across the country to start my new job as associate web editor at The American Prospect in D.C. So I missed my chance to write a timely post about the FDA’s eased restrictions on Plan B sales.
This month Barr Labs finished repackaging the drug, and some pharmacies are starting to sell it without a prescription to women over 18. So most of the press coverage has incorrectly stated that Plan B is available “over-the-counter”. It’s not just the local news outlets that are getting it wrong. The Washington Post did say that, “Unlike many other OTC medications, it will not be sold at gas stations and convenience stores.” But it failed to come right out and say that “over-the counter” isn’t literally true — Plan B will still be sold only by licensed pharmacists, behind the pharmacy counter.
To be sure, I love any press for emergency contraception. After all, only 20% of women know what Plan B is or how it works. But the morning-after pill hasn’t begun “appearing in drugstores nationwide.â€? Most of the pharmacies that declined to stock it before the FDA status change are still failing to provide it. For example, ColoradoConfidential.com conducted an informal survey of pharmacies in the state, and nearly half of them didn’t keep the drug in stock. One Walgreens questioned whether Plan B was even legal. I know of no national surveys of EC availability, but a May 2005 survey of Missouri pharmacies also showed that 70% didn’t stock emergency contraception.
Pharmacist refusals become a non-issue when stores refuse to carry Plan B at all. NARAL’s got a form letter you can send to pharmacy chains asking them to publicly pledge to keep the drug in stock. In the meantime, everyone should keep a dose of EC at home. And if your local pharmacies aren’t carrying it, there’s always Planned Parenthood or Emergency Kindness, the EC service.

Join the Conversation

  • dagnymeetsassisi

    Hey Y’all –
    I don’t usually push big corps, but it’s worth knowing that Plan B is available on Drugstore.com, for 39.95, and they’ll ship anywhere. This could really help women who are in areas that are, shall we say, *underserved* by responsible pharmacists.

  • Ann

    That’s a great idea! Wonder if they have overnight delivery?

  • http://www.catswym.blogspot.com catswym

    speaking of not knowing how it works, the latest issue of Time has an article about recent medical developments in it. their blurb about plan B is that it’s a pill which “prevents implantation of a fertilized egg.”
    so, that’s not helpful.

  • Jacqui

    I interned at the Feminist Majority Foundation a few summers ago and we conducted a National Survey of college health clinics and their availablity of EC. We gathered some really interesting information. If anyone is interested in this info contact FMF!

  • http://www.the-reaction.blogspot.com/ Heraclitus

    Hey, Ann, congratulations on your new job at The American Prospect!

  • dhsredhead

    I live fairly close to the national headquarters for Rite Aid, I wonder if they plan to stock and if not, if there was anyway I could convince them it would be in their best interest?

  • Vervain

    The Happy Feminist, Pandagon and Feministe all did excellent posts regarding this popular urban myth about women back in Sept. of this year. Check out the archives–it’s good stuff.
    My personal favorite (although I can’t remember who pointed it out on which blog–might even have been a commenter) was some study in which females in a classroom were percieved as having talked more by both the male and female students in the class, when in fact the males had actually talked more. I think someone pointed out that when this topic comes up, it’s not that women are seen at talking too much compared to men, it’s that they’re seen as talking too much as opposed to not talking at all.

  • Vervain

    Gah, sorry…posted on the wrong thread.
    It’s been that kinda morning.
    Any chance the eds could move my comment to the right one?

  • http://cockspots.blogspot.com Jane Minty

    I smell some Google mash-up maps!

  • http://tmwk.com/mariko Mariko

    dhsredhead, Rite Aid DOES stock it. If they don’t have it in stock, you can ask someone at the pharmacy they can order it for you (deliveries usually come the next day) if you ask.

  • Flamio Forelli

    Trend Tech
    The fact that the 3-day equestrian event was carried out at Pratoni del Vivaro, the rowing events at Castelgandolfo, and the yachting events at Naples entailed the organization of a number of displacements which would guarantee the technical and lodging requirements for the individual competitions, avoiding any possible inconvenience caused by the distance from the central organization and overcoming the difficulties of timely and adequate service by the normal bodies of the Direction already fully engaged in the Village. Naturally the Direction reserved the right of controlling and co-ordinating the activities of the displacements themselves.
    Displacements to Villa Glori and Pratoni del Vivaro have already been mentioned in the chapter dedicated to the Lodging Section. It should, however, be remembered that the displacement to Villa Glori close to the Village could benefit from all the services of the Olympic Village, while Pratoni del Vivaro had recourse to the services of firms under contract for everything concerning the daily life of persons and horses, once the construction and preparation of lodgings and stables had been attended to.
    This displacement functionned from 21st August to 15th September, registering 1065 attendances (days x persons) of stable personnel, 220 attendances of full board of participants in events who, either after training or having completed their competition, returned to the Olympic Village; 3,750 attendances of the group of 150 soldiers located there.
    For the displacement to Castelgandolfo, an agreement was drawn up with the “Pius XII Institute for a Better World” where, under the control of a trustee of the Committee, the personnel of the Institute also provided a restaurant service which served a total of 4,407 meals.
    The athletes taking part in the rowing events were thus able to take their meals at this Institute and have their siesta on the verandas or make use of the rooms and corridors which had been prepared for this purpose.