UPDATE: Generic forms of Plan B One-Step like Next Choice, Next Choice One Dose, My Way, and Levonorgestrel are now available over the counter without a prescription or any age restrictions! Get the details.
In response to a judge’s order to make emergency contraception (EC) available over the counter without a prescription, the FDA has approved Plan B One-Step, a popular brand of EC, for “off the shelf” sale. Until now, EC was sold from behind the pharmacy counter and anyone under 17 needed a prescription to get it. Keeping EC behind the counter meant that even those 17 and over were dependent on pharmacy employees, who research has found don't always have their facts straight, to access EC. Levonorgestrel-based EC options like Plan B One-Step are more effective the sooner you take them, so delays due to misinformed pharmacists, lack of ID, or short pharmacy hours can make a real difference in how well EC pills work.
All dressed up and ready to go.
Plan B One-Step has a fresh new package (purple instead of green, if you want to know, though the EC pill itself is the same) and is already being shipped to pharmacies, drugstores, and grocery stores—including grocery stores that don’t have a pharmacy. It should be available around the country by August 1, 2013. Retailers will get to decide where to put it, but early reports suggest that the family planning aisle, where the condoms and pregnancy tests can be found, is probably a good place to look first. You can find out where to buy Plan B One-Step in your town through their website.
Will generics be available too?
For the time being, generic EC pills—which include Next Choice, Next Choice One Dose, and Levonorgestrel—will remain behind the counter and a prescription will still be required for those under 17.