The Plan B morning-after pill is moving over the counter. The FDA announced today that the emergency contraceptive will be available without a prescription to those ages 15 and older. The pill also no longer needs to be behind pharmacy counters. Instead, it can sit on drugstore shelves just like condoms, but buyers will have to prove their age at the cash register. Earlier this month, a federal judge ruled there should be no age restrictions and gave the FDA 30 days to act. The FDA said that its latest decision was independent of the court case, and that Justice Department lawyers were still considering their response to the ruling.
"Research has shown that access to emergency contraceptive products has the potential to further decrease the rate of unintended pregnancies in the United States," says FDA chief Margaret Hamburg. "The data reviewed by the agency demonstrated that women 15 years of age and older were able to understand how Plan B One-Step works, how to use it properly, and that it does not prevent the transmission of a sexually transmitted disease." Click for more. (Read more Plan B stories.)