Some limitations on emergency contraception are eased

September 1, 2009

The FDA approved a new one-pill formulation of the emergency contraceptive Plan B in July.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a new one-pill formulation of the emergency contraceptive (EC) Plan B in July. Called Plan B One-Step, the product is available behind the counter without a prescription to women 17 or older. The FDA also recently approved Next Choice, a generic version of the original two-pill Plan B formulation, which is obtainable by prescription to those 17 or younger.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) praised the recent FDA actions, saying the new formulation "will simplify this important pregnancy prevention treatment" (ACOG press release, 7/15/09). However, ACOG also reiterated its "long-held position that there is no valid scientific or medical reason to impose an age restriction on the availability of EC because it is safe and effective for adolescents and women of all ages." It urged the FDA "to withdraw the age restriction altogether and eliminate the behind-the-counter status for EC."