WASHINGTON, DC – It’s a victory for women’s rights advocates. And a smack-down for social conservatives. The department of justice has decided to drop its appeal against U.S. District Judge Edward Korman’s ruling allowing the emergency contraceptive “Plan B” to be sold over the counter in drug stores without prescription or age-limitations.
But that doesn’t mean women will be able to buy the drug immediately.
“After a ruling like this comes down, just like before when they changed the age of Plan B, it takes just as long to get to the store as long as it takes the manufacturer to make the new box with the new labeling,’ Houston Pharmacist Craig Novak explains. ‘Once we get the new box with the new labeling, that’s when the law will actually go into effect where we can sell it at certain ages.”
The FDA has requested that the drug’s manufacturer, Teva Women’s Health, submit a new application complete with new labeling information and once approved, the company can begin printing those new labels and distributing the drugs to stores, until then however, pharmacists aren’t allowed to sell the old packages.
“Even when they changed it to seventeen,’ Novak says, ‘we still couldn’t sell the old product until we got the new box that said ‘seventeen’ on it.”
And while the legal debate over emergency contraceptives may be done, the moral debate is not: Planned Parenthood has called the decision a ‘historic moment for women’s health and equality.’ others call it a mistake.
“I think it should not be on the shelves,’ says Houstonian Dana Glass. ‘I have a 6-year-old grand-daughter and at thirteen/fourteen, I don’t want her to be able to walk into any pharmacy and get a morning-after pill.”