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Plan B is now available to women of all ages

After a long battle, the FDA has approved the sale of Plan B One-Step — without age restrictions — at pharmacies.

Woman taking Plan B

After quite a bit of back-and-forth, both in red tape and controversy, the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has decided to make Plan B One-Step available in drugstores over-the-counter for women of all ages.

In 2011, the FDA had prepared to allow over-the-counter sales for the drug, a so-called morning-after pill, without age limitations, but Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius went against her scientific advisory panel and would not approve the measure.

In April, US District Judge Edward Korman ruled in favor of the FDA’s recommendations, saying that the age restrictions were unreasonable. By then, the drug-maker had resubmitted an application requesting the product to be available for women 15 and older. Later in April, the FDA approved the drug use for that age group, excluding women under 15. They would also require age checks when women purchased the drug.

The US Attorney’s Office, representing the FDA and the HHS, appealed Korman’s ruling, but announced it would withdraw that effort on June 10.

On June 13, a federal judge approved the measure to remove all age restrictions and the need for in-store age verification.

“It’s about time,” said Chris Iseli, a spokesman for the Center for Reproductive Rights. “It’s taken too long to bring emergency contraception out from behind the pharmacy counter.”

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