FDA makes generic versions of emergency contraception available over the counter

two generic versions of emergency contraception

You should see these generic versions of EC on drugstore shelves soon. (Images via.)

Good news: The slow–and often infuriating–expansion of access to emergency contraception took another step forward last week when the FDA announced that generic versions of EC can now be sold over the counter to folks of all ages

Until now, a sweetheart deal had given the pharmaceutical company that makes the brand name version, Plan B, exclusive rights to sell their product without age restrictions, while generic versions were available only to those over 17 and remained behind the pharmacy counter. Now that all products can be side-by-side on the shelf, the generic versions, which typically cost less, will hopefully drive down the price overall.

Of course, this is EC we’re talking about, so obviously some confusion must remain. For now, while young women should be able to purchase them no problem, generic versions must include a label saying they are intended for “women 17 years of age or older.” Given that the complicated battle to get EC over the counter has left the public–including, most unfortunately, many pharmacists themselvesconfused about the rules, this labeling probably won’t help.

So be sure to spread the word to all your friends: To prevent pregnancy after sex, go to a drugstore (maybe call ahead to make sure they stock it), find emergency contraception, ignore the labels about age restrictions (read the other instructions), purchase your preferred brand, don’t let anyone convince you that you need to show ID or otherwise give you a hard time, do the happy dance when you get your period/a negative pregnancy test.

Elaine doing the happy dance

Repeat as needed.

Maya DusenberyMaya Dusenbery is an Executive Director of Feministing.

St. Paul, MN

Maya Dusenbery is executive director in charge of editorial at Feministing. She is the author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm: The Truth About How Bad Medicine and Lazy Science Leave Women Dismissed, Misdiagnosed, and Sick (HarperOne, March 2018). She has been a fellow at Mother Jones magazine and a columnist at Pacific Standard magazine. Her work has appeared in publications like Cosmopolitan.com, TheAtlantic.com, Bitch Magazine, as well as the anthology The Feminist Utopia Project. Before become a full-time journalist, she worked at the National Institute for Reproductive Health. A Minnesota native, she received her B.A. from Carleton College in 2008. After living in Brooklyn, Oakland, and Atlanta, she is currently based in the Twin Cities.

Maya Dusenbery is an executive director of Feministing and author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm on sexism in medicine.

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